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August 12, 2022

Library adds new position to connect patrons to services

Specialist will be based at Gilroy Migrant Center

Santa Clara County Library District created a new Community Outreach Specialist position in an effort to better connect its patrons with key services. 

Erik Poicon, the inaugural holder of the position, will split time between the Milpitas Library and the Ochoa Migrant Center in Gilroy, which is a Bookmobile partner site.

“The Community Outreach Specialist brings an additional skill set into our libraries that will enable us to more proactively respond to the needs of our patrons,” said County Librarian Jennifer Weeks. “Libraries are central places of access and opportunity for our community. From employment resources to local food banks, Erik will build connections between people and the many public and nonprofit services that can best assist them.”

The Community Outreach Specialist will do more than just share contact information for service agencies, according to a press release. He will help ensure that there is a handoff with key support staff so that they understand the specific needs of patrons and to reduce any barriers to access. Whether the need be among the unhoused for shelter, health-related inquiries, or help finding a job, the position will work closely with library staff to make sure that people find what they are seeking.

“Librarians are experts in connecting people with information,” said Mike Wasserman, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and president of the Library Joint Powers Authority Board. “This position builds on this existing relationship with the public and allows libraries to go further in connecting people in need with the government and nonprofit services that they require.”

Poicon has previously worked as a community organizer at Groundworks working on public outreach, as part of the 2020 U.S. Census efforts, and most recently as head of the Covid-19 Positive Relief Team for the Community Services Agency of Mountain View. His duties as the Community Resource Specialist include connecting SCCLD libraries to local resources, including other county, state and federal public agencies. Poicon will also help patrons fill out forms to access services and provide follow up with individuals after referrals are made. 

Community resource spaces have been set aside at the Ochoa Migrant Camp and Milpitas Library, with information provided in multiple languages. Poicon, who is bilingual in Spanish, will have a dedicated working space at both sites. 

The Ochoa Migrant Camp is open nine months of the year to support migrant farm workers and is utilized for the remaining months to provide temporary housing.

The position is partially funded by a California State Library Community Connections grant.

For information, visit sccld.org/community-resources.

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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