Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Social Work in the Libraries

The following was written by Ann Dougherty, Childrens' Librarian, at Kensington Neighborhood Library.

Lauren Carrasquillo, our work/study social work intern, has made a big impact on our library community in the few short weeks she has been working with us at Kensington. Lauren, who is currently studying Social Work at Temple University, has been able to help several of our patrons deal with problems in their lives that threaten to overwhelm them. Her skill sets from Temple University have allowed her to successfully serve those seeking better housing, those who are hunting for jobs, and veterans.   Lauren works at the Kensington branch every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00 PM to 5:45 PM. She holds court in the computer lab, where she meets with patrons in half hour increments. Lauren has only been on the job for two weeks, and in that short time span she has helped a single mother search for housing for herself and her child, helped a grandmother who had custody of her grandson search for a better living arrangement, and helped a veteran with job-hunting strategies. Marcela, the branch manager, and I see Lauren’s role as a logical extension of our mandate to provide timely community information and referral services to our patrons.

Several librarians in our cluster feel it would be helpful to have a social worker or a social work intern rotate among the North Philadelphia cluster libraries to help patrons connect with services in the community, such as SNAP, housing, resume writing, obtaining warm clothing and services for veterans.

“When you are growing up there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you.”—Keith Richards

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