Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

ToolKit: New Americans- Social Work & Libraries

“Whole Person Librarianship”

Libraries in underserved communities have been known for being safe spaces, particularly for the underserved population. Usually, these safe spaces are jewels for New Americans. As we all know, libraries provide so many of the resources needed for New Americans to become acclimated to their new home. As a librarian or a library worker, how many times we have helped patrons find resources for health and food benefits, child care, employment training and etc.? Too many times to count.

As a librarian or a library worker, it seems to come with the job. However, outside of those patrons who may only need help with an application, we may also encounter those patrons who may need medical attention or are facing some type of trauma. These situations are sensitive and may need the expertise of a professional. Here is where we are able to connect all of the pieces of the” helping” professions known as Librarians, Social Workers, and Social Services. A brilliant idea surfaced to have these professionals work together in the same space.

Some libraries across the country have already implemented having social workers in their library as library staff members or having library staff trained to provide library service by applying those techniques of trained social workers.  The term coined for this type of librarian/ social work collaboration is “Whole Person Librarianship”.  There is also the option of connecting with vendors such as the DMV, Social Services, health care companies and etc., and having them come to your library to share and provide information and help from their resources. This can also be considered a part of programming for your library. Check out the LSUCTC Toolkit for recommended resources.

What do you think?

We would love your help! 

 Please email us with your recommendations, favorite resources, and inspiring community outreach endeavors:  We would love to add your recommendations to our Toolkit sheets.  If you are willing to share your successful programming ideas and experiences, we would love to highlight those as well. ­­­

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Georgette Spratling is the Youth Services Librarian at the North Miami Public Library in North Miami, Fl. She is a mother of 2 daughters, an HBCU Alum (Florida A & M University), and a lover of all things science fiction and fantasy.  When she is not helping teens in the library to become a better version of themselves, you can find her traveling the globe and making memories with her friends and family. 

New Americans, Underserved Communities, Wholeperson Librarianship

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