Part of the library’s mission is to be a connector to a myriad of services and resources to ensure quality of life and serve as a social safety net. Like many large urban and suburban public library systems who have recently added a Social Worker in the Library program, we have recognized a great need for this service. Successfully offering aid to those experiencing mental health issues, substance abuse, chronic health problems or homelessness can best be accomplished by hiring a full-time social worker with an understanding of these specific challenges and with firsthand knowledge of the resources available to connect individuals to.
The social worker will partner with organizations and agencies that provide social and human services to present public programs and support for one-on-one appointments with customers, provide training for library staff so they can assist in these efforts and create resource guides to give to customers and to post on our website.
We have received a generous $300,000 grant from the Osprey Foundation of Towson. The funding will pay for all year one expenses, including the social worker’s salary and benefits, and the construction of a private work and meeting space for the social worker and customers. Funding will pay for a portion of expenses in years two and three.