Ontario: “Not Just Books — Kitchener Public Library Puts a Social Worker on the Shelf”
From Kitchener Post:
The library has always loaned books, videos and even CDs that offer guidance and advice on everything from how to manage money to how to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Now, the Kitchener Public Library‘s Central branch is offering a little bit more: a trained social worker who can give advice and guidance, offer a friendly presence and a sympathetic ear.
Kym Bohachewski admits many of her friends and colleagues were skeptical when she said she would do a work placement at the library as part of her requirements for a master in social work at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Her placement, which runs three days a week until April, includes training library staff in how to recognize when a library customer may need help with a bigger issue; outreach with community agencies to help the library figure out how it can best meet the needs of clients such as women staying at a shelter, or homeless men.
Having social workers at the library is still fairly unusual, but is something that libraries across North America are trying. The first was probably in San Francisco in 2009, while Edmonton Public Library was the first Canadian library to bring in a social worker in 2011, Bohachewski said.
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About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.