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Social Services in Libraries

Social workers and libraries - an emerging collaboration

This program embeds social workers in libraries to respond to community needs. Heading into its third year, it is constantly growing based on proven successes at Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County libraries.

SEFLIN provides the opportunity to develop, enhance, and extend the reach of interprofessional collaborative efforts between libraries, schools of social work, and social service agencies in Southeast Florida. This collaborative effort will enhance and extend the capacity of all partners: libraries, social service agencies, student interns, and social workers from FIU and FAU School of Social Work. Together we are providing resources to the patrons of the libraries and identifying the best ways to handle patrons’ social service needs. This is an excellent opportunity to promote community-university partnerships.

A Social Worker Field Instructor and two student Interns have been embedded within the library since early January 2020, helping clients and modeling behavior and strategies to help prepare library staff to better handle crisis situations and enhance their responsiveness to customer needs. The interns, closely supervised by a certified Social Worker/Field Instructor, are providing their services 28 hours a week. The Field Instructor is in charge of developing the necessary tools to ensure the interns are experiencing the needed interactions with clients for their studies, as well as establishing the documentation and client data security measures fundamental for the project. 

Libraries are on the front-line working with patrons that may be experiencing issues of homelessness, substance abuse, and mental illness. For that matter, SEFLIN offers also library staff training on a monthly basis to give librarians tools to identify and recognize issues that may arise in their libraries and how to manage them. 

social services in libraries - homeless