LINK ServicesFostering connections between “newcomers” and community organizations by sharing resources
Northfield city government
Northfield Public Library
Local organizations, nonprofits, and City and County offices
To provide Northfield residents, especially immigrant and newcomers, with a welcoming and central connection to resources and services.
How this project/organization build relationships
Link Services fosters relationships and connections among the immigrants and newcomers and resources to promote a welcoming community. Having bilingual staff evokes a sense of trust when non-English speakers seek help.
- $36,267 annually (provided through city funding)
- $450 for printing the monthly newsletter
- $170 to mail the newsletter to subscribers
LINK Services requires a list of resources to be featured on the Spanish/English Monthly Newsletter.
The LINK Services website lists numerous resources available in Northfield, Rice County, and greater Minnesota. The current and past newsletters are also available on the website.
- LINK Services is an integrated library service and they do not have direct partners aside from those who provide information for the monthly newsletter.
- Northfield city government
Our Story: "We make connections by helping to guide the community to services"
Link Services, formally known as the LINK Center, replaces prior public and private cooperative efforts to connect newcomers to local resources. Each month, the LINK Center published a Spanish/English newsletter, Conexiones Comunitarias / Community Connections, featuring articles from the local Northfield News, upcoming community events, and information about local organizations. Link Services continues to publish the newsletter and their first newsletter was published in June 2019. Angelica Linder, one of three bilingual staff at the Northfield Public Library, along with the Laurie Kodet, the Library Services Manager, create the monthly newsletter. Local organizations, nonprofits, and City and County offices in Northfield and Faribault email Linder monthly to provide featured information. Link Services prints 750 copies and relies on volunteers to place address labels on the newsletters that are sent to subscribers. Volunteers distribute the remaining newsletters to 14 locations in town, such as Rice County office, YMCA, El Triunfo, etc.
If you need help, just come.
The LINK Center offered a welcome desk located in the Northfield Community Resource Center building. Growing Up Healthy, an advocate organization for immigrant-community integration, cultural awareness, and education in Northfield, established the LINK Center in 2011 to replace the town’s minority liaison. Northfield budget cuts in 2010 dissolved the liaison position, leaving newcomers without guidance to find health, education, food, clothing, or shelter resources, among others. Immigrants especially, due to language barriers and other logistical challenges, could not find the resources they needed. Janet Lewis Muth, a coordinator for Growing Up Healthy, recognized the benefit of agencies with the primary goal of connecting people. With a coalition of local organizations, she advocated to create a welcome center for immigrants. The City of Northfield approved funding in November 2010 and joined Growing Up Healthy’s community services. In May 2019, the LINK Center transferred to the Northfield Public Library as Link Services, an integrated library service.
With bilingual staff, Link Services informs immigrant populations about local resources they can access to live in Northfield comfortably. The Link Services website is accessible in Spanish for non-English speakers. As an integrated library service located in the Northfield Public Library, the central location provides community members with the ability to obtain resources easily without visiting multiple locations. The monthly newsletter is an informative resource for community members without having to visit the library and the monthly newsletter allows Link Services to extend their reach.
Link Services receives a limited budget from the City of Northfield and this presents a challenge on what services they can provide. They hope to expand their monthly newsletter to a magazine that would make it more appealing to the community. Since Northfield has numerous help services and organizations, it is difficult to keep tabs on all the services available to the community. The racial and ethnic demographics of Northfield are changing and supporting non-Spanish speaking newcomers to Northfield presents a challenge Link Services has clients who want services that do not exist (e.g. legal services, transportation) beyond their scope to set those services. Greater financial support would help alleviate this issue of community outreach.
Things to Remember
- Make sure to reach an inclusive audience such as kids, teens, and young adults
- Have bilingual staff which helps with client outreach and responsiveness to the needs of the immigrant population
- Access to a space that allows for people to feel safe when seeking resources