January 23, 2022

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.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: Oregon: Pilot Program Provides On-Site Social Worker at Multnomah County Public Library’s Central Branch (May 11, 2016)

See Also: Colorado: “Denver Public Library’s New On-Site Social Worker Settling Into Job” (June 4, 2015)

See Also: Edmonton Public Library Extends Outreach Workers Project (March 30, 2014)

See Also: “Tucson:  More Than Just Books: Arizona Libraries Add Public Health Nurses” (March 31, 2014)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.