BOISE, Idaho — Everyone knows to come to the library for books but librarians have always been here to help with more than that. Now, the Boise Public Library has a Mental Health Coordinator to help with a lot of those questions that don't relate to books or the library itself.
Ashley Hammond was hired about a month ago as the mental health coordinator, something that's made even more special by the fact that she frequented this same library as a kid, having no idea she would trade in the dragon in the kids section for a big office on the first floor of the library.
"Our staff regularly connects library users with social service resources," said Sarah Kelley-Chase, the Library Services senior manager for the Boise Public Library.
Library staff saw that this need went beyond what they could provide, wanting someone who could spend more time with library patrons to answer their more complex questions. So they asked Boise City Council in December to hire a mental health coordinator.
Six months later, Hammond arrived.
"People come with questions about, you know, accessing medicaid benefits," Hammond said.
The most common questions she is getting so far have to do with housing.
Just like a librarian is there to recommend library resources, Hammond is there to recommend community resources. Something she says fits exactly what she's passionate about.
"I've always had this desire to help others improve their quality of life," she said.
You can head into the Boise Public Library downtown and ask for Hammond or you can click here for other contact information.