Referring Customers to Social Services

All of us know some places and programs that “help people” in the community. And because we work at the library, people expect us to “know the answers” or at least to be able to find the answers. In frequently changing times, it can be difficult to stay on top of all the changes in services.

As part of a community COVID-response coordination meeting today, I heard that the most up to date place for resource-information is:


Library staff should be referring people to 211 for any kind of because-of-COVID needs assistance or community assistance – many people may qualify for types of temporary or new assistance that they never considered before because they have never been in a situation to need assistance before. Shawnee County agencies are making sure that their information is updated for 211 referrals during COVID. Food assistance, rent assistance, and more.

You can provide the information about how to use 211 (or call 211) directly to customers BUT YOU CAN ALSO search 211 using the customer needs and location and give them the phone numbers or information about specific agencies.

Visit our local United Way website about 211:

2-1-1 is a service by the United Ways of Kansas that puts people in touch with much-needed services and volunteer opportunities in their local communities. Now you can call, go online or even text to find help.

Every hour of every day, hundreds of people need essential human services — they are looking for training, employment, food pantries, help for an aging parent, addiction prevention programs for their teenage children, affordable housing options, support groups and ways of becoming part of their community. 2-1-1 allows people to give help and to get help.

Go directly to 2-1-1 of Kansas:

I hope you can use this resource in your referral or research when customers mention their needs! Thank you for helping people in our community connect to accurate information to meet their needs, today and always!

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