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In the past four or five days, a couple of pieces of information have developed around Covered California projects. The first is relatively easy to reference and encapsulate and certainly has the most immediate impact on public lbraries (as well as on anyone else seeking to access Covered California's website):

This Friday, November 22, through next Monday morning, November 25,the Covered California site will be offline. This press release came to all subscribers on Friday, November 15, and is also on Covered California's news tab as the lead story, but just in case it passed your library by, here is the full text

A bit more complicated is a program that seems to have been communicated to some in the Covered California stakeholder community but which many libraries are now hearing in bits and pieces. Covered California has created a two-page flyer, titled "Partnering with Your Library," which has been circulated at least to those insurance brokers and other community members who have undertaken the grant funded "health marketplace assister" certification program. The flyer advertises the week of December 2 through 7 as a time when concerted effort should be made to do outreach to those who need health insurance through public libraries. So far, it does not appear that anyone on the library side suggested or agreed to this scheduling or that any communication was made to alert the library community to the conceptual development before the release of this flyer. However, some libraries are indeed receiving calls from assisters wanting to plan programs or other contact points within the local public library in keeping with the message the flyer bears.

So, what to do? First, make sure that your library's administration is apprised of such calls and that whatever your local policies may be concerning partnerships (which this program is designating itself in the Covered California Outreach and Education site) are applied. Next, be sure to cultivate the would-be partner as a potential asset in your library's own enrollment access efforts. However, given the brief window of planning time we have been given, it may well be that accommodating a prospective partner's outreach effort with space, program marketing or even access to group technology points for the first week of December just isn't feasible. In any case, this becomes a real opportunity to educate those involved with a specific program with how the public library can and can't partner and what all is entailed in a library partnership. 

A challenge? Yup! And definitely a golden opportunity as well!

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