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Partnering with Helpers: Peer Navigators in the Library

Erie County, PA
Program Year: 2020

Gaining access to needed resources in Erie County can be a challenge for many individuals, particularly those in crises or who are not sure where to begin. Many individuals look to the library as a source of information on all topics, including housing, food, education and mental health resources.The Peer Navigator program is a collaboration among the Erie County Public Library, the Erie County Department of Health (EDCH), and the Mental Health Association of Northwest Pennsylvania (MHA). It has addressed the need to provide timely, accurate and experienced information and methodology to individuals in need where they naturally congregate. Funding from the ECDH allowed the MHA to hire two Peer Navigators to place at Blasco Memorial Library, which is the main branch. Blasco Library provided a private space for individuals to meet with a Peer Navigator to receive confidential and real-time help on their own terms.The program launched in October 2019 with two Peer Navigators in the library six days a week. The Peer Navigators not only provided support to members of the public interested in services, but also to staff members who wished to learn more about community needs and resources.

Ms. Sheryl Thomas
Assistant Director