Initially it was just books. Then libraries started offering music and movies.
And during the pandemic, they started offering at-home COVID-19 tests, masks and other pandemic-related information.
Now Prince George’s County is expanding that even further with something called “Community Health Worker In The Library.”
For the next two months, five branches around the county will team up with the Prince George’s County Health Department to offer not only tests and masks, but also a free bag of groceries.
“Our hope is to give away 100 bags of groceries to residents” every single day, said Steve Fitzgerald, the director of dynamic content and engagement for the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System.
Low-income residents will also get a chance to talk about their health with someone who can help gauge their situation.
“They come in, they have a brief conversation with the health worker, talk a little bit about their health,” he said.
It’s a totally free option to talk about something they might be concerned about.
“A lot of our population are fearful of doctors … and not all of our residents have health insurance either, so doctors aren’t necessarily an option for many folks,” said Fitzgerald.
While the health worker who speaks with them won’t be a doctor, “they are an expert in general health,” he said.
“Their role in this project is to get some qualitative data about the individual, and if this person would like to have follow-up appointments, then the community health worker is available to reach out and maybe offer them some resources where they can potentially go in the future.”
The Community Health Worker In The Library will be held twice a week at the Hyattsville, Largo-Kettering, New Carrollton, Spauldings (in District Heights) and Upper Marlboro branches through the month of June.
Up to six other branches could also host the event if demand is high, Fitzgerald said, and it’s also possible that the program will be extended beyond June if it’s deemed a success.
|Location||Day 1||Day 2|
|Hyattsville||Tuesdays 12:30 to 5 p.m.||Thursdays 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.|
|Largo-Kettering**||Tuesdays 12:30 to 5 p.m.||Wednesdays 12:30 to 5 p.m.|
|New Carrollton||Wednesdays 12:30 to 5 p.m.||Thursdays 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.|
|Spauldings||Tuesdays 12:30 to 5 p.m.||Thursdays 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.|
|Upper Marlboro||Wednesdays 12:30 to 5 p.m.||Thursdays 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.|
** Largo-Kettering will only host distributions in May.