In 2011 EPL partnered with Boyle Street Community Services to launch an outreach program when an increasing number of people were seeking refuge in the downtown branch. Initially the program was supported by the provincial Safe Communities Innovation Fund.
Based on our Community-led Service Model, the program works to help and empower at-risk Edmontonians through literacy, education, connections and social support. We have also formed partnerships with the Bissell Centre and Homewart Trust to support homeless individuals in finding housing.
Some people might not access existing social services, but visit EPL knowing it’s a safe, friendly space. Clients of the program find social support and assistance needed to manage challenges, and make lasting changes towards a better life.
In collaboration with library staff, our three outreach staff (all registered social workers) work in and outside four branches (Enterprise Square, Abbottsfield, Sprucewood and Woodcroft). But their impact reaches well beyond the library’s walls.
EPL was awarded a 2015 American Library Association Presidential Citation for the program, and has presented both nationally and internationally on the service.