Your Name and Title: Nicole L. Warren, LSW

Library, School, or Organization Name: New Jersey State Library

Co-Presenter Name(s): Peggy Cadigan, Jondhi Harrell, Sarah Swiderski

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: United States (New Jersey)

Language in Which You Will Present: English

Target Audience(s): Librarians, Library Staff

Short Session Description (one line): The Fresh Start @ Your Library team will share how they adjusted their service delivery and outreach methods to assist formerly incarcerated people, as some libraries remained closed or at limited operating status during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

In September 2019, the New Jersey State Library and its partners began preparatory work on the IMLS-funded National Leadership Grant project, "Reconnecting Returning Citizens with their Communities at Public Libraries," publicly advertised as "Fresh Start @ Your Library."  In March 2020, just as services to formerly incarcerated individuals were set to start at six public libraries in New Jersey, the state of emergency imposed by the spread of the novel coronavirus shut down libraries and most other organizations across the state. In this session, the Fresh Start @ Your Library team will share how they adjusted their outreach methods and services offered to returning citizens, as some libraries remained closed and others cycled through several openings and closings through the end of 2020 and into 2021.  The presentation will feature photos, data, maps, and an audio description in order to convey the modifications imposed by the pandemic versus the original project plans. We believe that Fresh Start @ Your Library can serve as a model project for any library that would like to offer services to the formerly incarcerated. This session will enable us to share this model with a wide audience interested in this type of outreach in their communities.

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