Libraries Help Veterans and Military Families Prosper
Public libraries have been supporting their communities for years and that service does not waver when it comes to helping veterans, returning service members, and military families. With the frequency that military families move, the complexity of reintegrating into the workforce, those that have served in the military face multiple challenges in adjusting to new locations and adjusting to life after their service. Public libraries near bases and in new at-home communities provide aid with issues like economic security, meaningful career pathways, financial literacy, and navigating benefits and retirements.
Libraries almost always have online resource guides easily accessible to those who need it. In addition, many offer in-person consultation sessions for those who need questions answered and hold specific spaces in the library for veterans and their families to use. They also network with diverse programs that specialize in different topics that pertain to veterans and their families from moving resources to help in obtaining career training and education. Local public libraries are extremely beneficial to veterans in their surrounding communities and make significant contributions to improving the lives and transitions of veterans and military families.
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Economic security encompasses a variety of issues from stable employment for veterans and their families to accessing resources that help veterans take care of their families like childcare. Means of obtaining economic security is also difficult due to the uncertainty of military life. There are high costs involved in the constant moving and many veterans and military families have trouble developing secure employment.
Libraries have the resources to help guide veterans and military families through these challenges. Broward County Library in Florida has implemented a Veterans Connect Hotspot Program that houses endless resources to help veterans transition to civilian life. This program provides WiFi hotspots to veterans, active military, and their families. Ensuring secure, unlimited access to the internet where resources for job searching, career preparation, and resume, coaching, and networking are located. This library makes it easy to borrow hotspots and has multiple locations for veterans and military families to utilize.
In addition, the library has shared a variety of resources related to career and business assistance. This helps these families receive ongoing support and expert help with crafting resumes and finding jobs. There are even resources listed that offer free work and meeting spaces, making it easier for veterans and military families to access tools needed to establish their own businesses. Having these resources readily available encourages veterans to pursue their goals of achieving financial stability.
Meaningful Career Pathways
Forging meaningful career pathways and opportunities preserve the mental and emotional well-being of veterans. Not only does this make them feel fulfilled, but it also provides a sense of stability and security. These careers are created through proper education, training, and access to job opportunities, coaching, and resume resources.
The Houston Public Library has ensured that veterans receive the help they need by collecting resources that were created for them. A few examples include GI Bill which is a benefit for veterans to attend college and the Houston Community College Veteran Affairs that provides direct services to veterans and their families. The library also connects veterans to resources like HigherEd360 which helps the job hunting process of those looking to work in academia.
Brainfuse, a resource that is free to those with a library card, has also connected with libraries to provide subscription services to their platforms for veterans to use. All 1,120 public libraries in California are equipped with this online service. Brainfuse’s programs help veterans learn new skills, prep for certification testing and practice their interviewing skills.
Having knowledge of financial literacy and planning is vital in ensuring military veterans and families are being taken care of. Financial literacy is accomplished by understanding a variety of cost-associated obstacles and managing financial resources effectively.
Many libraries in the state of California are partnered with CalVet, the California Department of Veteran Affairs, to help veterans and their families. The libraries not only allow for easy access to veteran resources, they also house trained volunteers that offer one-on-one consultations to veterans who need it. This means an expert available to help with all types of questions, especially those related to finance.
CalVet is a beneficial resource for veterans and military families. They share information about financial topics like home loans, affordable housing, and plenty of educational benefits that help with costs and financing of college and training programs.
Navigating Benefits & Retirement
Topics of benefits and retirement can be difficult for anyone to navigate. Library cards give veterans access to Brainfuse’s VetNow, an all-encompassing eResource that helps them search databases for information regarding careers, resumes, and benefits. The Brainfuse VetNow Navigator is especially helpful because it helps veterans and their families understand the benefits they are eligible for and, more important, helps them apply for these benefits. The database holds information over multiple eligible benefits from housing to healthcare to education.
Another library that is focused on helping veterans understand benefits is the San Francisco Public Library. Their Veterans Resource Center is open in the afternoons from Monday through Friday and is staffed with volunteers and staff who are knowledgeable about veteran benefits, resources, and local services. In addition, the space gives veterans a place to work and easily access computers, printers, and the internet.
Additional Help From Libraries
On top of being connections between veterans and resources, libraries also host and create a lot of events and programs that are designed specifically for veterans. They cater to both adults and children in military families. For example, plenty of interactive and free resources are available for children and teenagers. The Navy Digital Library houses endless audiobooks, magazines, songs, and interactive learning tools for kids of military families to use. Another example of library programming that helps bridge the gap for veterans is Community Conversations with Veterans which are partnerships with California libraries that are focused on engaging veterans and their families through community events. Libraries are continuously creating new ways to connect with veterans and ensure they and their families are welcomed in their communities.
Libraries, Core Components of Military Communities
Libraries are instrumental in securing and providing resources for the veteran and military family community. They are centers for outreach that connect veterans to support and tools all across the nation and within the local community. These resources become very important in helping veterans and their families transition whether they are being relocated or stepping out of military life. By ensuring that veterans have stable lives with options for careers they value and benefits they can access, libraries are helping veterans and their families adapt to civilian life. Libraries have worked to serve their communities for generations and the outreach towards military families is the stepping stone towards providing inclusive and conscientious services to their patrons.