ALA Unit/Subunit: ALA
Meeting Type: Program
Cost: Included with full conference registration.
There are approximately 22 million veterans living in the US today, and the population is changing rapidly. As a new generation of veterans transitions from military life and copes with the impact of long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the needs of the population are also shifting. IMLS’s Community Salute initiative explores examples, tools, and resources around how libraries and museums can develop new or enhanced strategies for veterans and their families. The panelists in this session will highlight the important role that libraries can play in serving to educate and empower veterans at various points in their careers and lives.
This panel session will begin with a presentation from the RAND Corporation providing an overview of data and findings on the issues facing this new generation of veterans, highlighting how supporting them has impacted caregivers and their families, and discussing how shifts in the characteristics and needs of the population should inform how the landscape of support responds.
A representative from IMLS will review trends IMLS is seeing in the library field about models of engaging with veterans and military families, as well as opportunities for future work as part of the Community Salute initiative.
We will next hear from the May and Stanley Smith Charitable, a private foundation that supports nonprofit organizations serving veterans and military families in the Western United States, focusing on four key areas of support: mental health, education and employment, homelessness, and community and family reintegration. Communities have opportunities to support actively serving military families, including the National Guard and Reserves, during relocations and deployment and to assist the approximately 200,000–250,000 veterans who leave the military and rejoin communities nationwide as new citizens. One of the greatest needs these veterans and their families have is help navigating new and unfamiliar systems and services in their new communities. Communities can assist by mapping the appropriate systems in the community and providing information and referral to veterans.
At the end of the session, the panelists will discuss the following questions:
• What indicators do you think are important to track in your projects?
• What advice would you have to libraries to best engage with veterans and military families in their communities?