Best Practices for Serving Veterans in Arizona Libraries

By Rob Wilson

Hello AzLA! 

In this column we’ll be sharing best practices for serving veterans in Arizona libraries. The first thing you need to know is that there’s an AzLA Veteran Services Interest Group (VSIG). We meet online quarterly to discuss current library and community events, plans for the future, and best practices. If you have veterans in your community -and I know you do- you should be reaching out and serving this vulnerable and valuable population. The first step to doing so is joining VSIG. 

Why veteran services? From Governor Ducey’s 2020 State of the State address:

“We have a goal: To make Arizona homebase for veterans everywhere in the country. These women and men make our state stronger. To all our veterans, everywhere, from California to New York State, Arizona wants you.” 

Learn how to present, partner and get involved in:

Every veteran has a story. This is a platform for veterans and members of the military community to share their writing. This month on Veteran Corps Writers we interview Uncomfortably Numb author Travis Burns about his life and his book on PTSD and veteran suicide.

This 4-part healing/coming home ceremony supports veterans and adult family members transitioning back into civilian life. Discussions address processing combat experiences; moral injuries that may have occurred in the military; how to reconnect, live productively and find meaning in your service; and why some veterans re-integrate better than others…

The battle is over and you have survived with your life while others have not. You’ve fought side by side with your brothers and sisters. You’ve kept faith with your sworn oath to country, your training and your bond with comrades in arms. You are now a veteran who knows that despite all the training and intentions, innocent lives and friends have been lost due to war’s cruel randomness. Now you must return home, find meaning in being alive and become a better citizen as a result of your new status as a veteran. Your story is similar to those who have gone before you as it will be for those who follow you. You are not alone. The veterans’ path home is well traveled and has been proven to be a healing way home for veterans from all centuries and cultures. It’s a path to a peaceful, compassionate and joyous life that is the reward of all warriors who at one time willingly put their lives at great danger and risk for a cause greater then self. No matter what you did, or was done to you -or what you failed to do in time of war- embrace this path for it is the instrument of your destiny. Limited to 40 participants: Veterans and adult family members are encouraged to participate.

The proposed project will take the form of a writing workshop, conducted by Center for Science and the Imagination (CSI) staff and a speculative fiction professional in which participants can develop and refine narratives that explore possible futures and careers, featuring themselves as protagonists. These narratives will be bolstered by access to ASU faculty who can provide technical guidance and expertise in the participant’s chosen career field. The knowledge and experience gained from these interactions and workshop meetings will be distilled into original pieces of creative fiction that will be collected in an e-book anthology and shared with the general public.

Mark you planners: The 2020 AzLA Veteran Services Special Interest Group meets on Wednesday, November 4th, 2-3pm. Feel free to contact me if you’re interested!

Rob Wilson

Librarian at Goodyear Library

robwilson@mcldaz.org

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