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Social Workers at the Library

Andre Morris, social worker for the Orange County Library System. Photo courtesy of the Orange County Library System.

Social workers support the community

According to a 2021 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the need for social workers specializing in mental health and treating substance use will grow by 17% from 2019 to 2029. Social workers have the expertise to help connect people to human services-related resources. Trained to assist people experiencing crisis and trauma, social workers help their clients feel comfortable sharing sensitive information because of their empathy and strict confidentiality requirements.

The Orange County Library System (OCLS), Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) and Palm Beach County Library System (PBCLS) each host social worker services at their libraries. The Field Supervisor is a licensed social worker who provides service on a rotating basis between libraries in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County. Two Florida Atlantic University (FAU) social work interns work in both library systems as well.

Image: Jenny Gomez (left), the MSW Field Instructor and Pnina Aaronson (right), the social worker intern. Photo courtesy of the Miami-Dade Public Library System.

For the Social Workers in Libraries initiative:

  • Southeast Florida Library Information Network (SEFLIN) established partnerships with MDPLS, Florida International University (FIU) and
  • SEFLIN received partial funding for this initiative through a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant.
  • MDPLS provided partial funding to employ a Field Supervisor from the FIU School of Social Work.
  • The Orange County Library System originally offered their social worker program as part of their Right Service at the Right Time LSTA grant, but it is now supported by the SEFLIN initiative.

Read about the community response to social workers in these library systems.

From left to right, Nicole Lembo, Jenny Gomez and Berenice Denis. Jenny is the MSW Field Instructor and Nicole and Berenice are the social worker interns at the Miami-Dade Public Library. Photo courtesy of the Miami-Dade Public Library System.

imls180.for.panel.jpgMany of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Florida's LSTA program is administered by the Department of State's Division of Library and Information Services.

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