For librarians considering interns

Stemming from a publication in the journal of Social Work and recent presentation at CSWE, I’m pleased to announce that our* manuscript for Public Library Quarterly has been accepted for publication. You can download the pre-print version at the link below. This paper is directed towards public librarians considering their branch as a host site for social work practicum students.

Wahler, E.A., Ressler, J.D., Johnson, S.C., Rortvedt, C., Saecker, T., Helling, J., Williams, M.A., & Hoover, D. (2021). Public library-based social work field placements: Guidance for public libraries planning to become a social work practicum site. Public Library Quarterly.

*Check out Dr. Beth Wahler’s new website Social Work in the Library

CSWE APM presentations & Announcement

This weekend I’ll be presenting my research with Dr. Beth Wahler (UNC-Charlotte) at the Council on Social Work Education’s Annual Program Meeting in Orlando, FL. Recorded presentations will also be made available to virtual registrants in the coming weeks and I will also upload our slides to my University’s repository soon.

I will also be sharing findings from my research with former social work library interns alongside Dr. Mark Giesler (Saginaw Valley State University) and Margaret Ann Paauw (Loyola University Chicago and Chicago Public Library). We are in the process of completing a manuscript on this research and will be submitting it for publication soon.

I’m am also excited to announce that I will teaching a new, four credit course entitled Social Work and Librarianship through the School of Information Studies at the University of Illinois. While the bulk of students will be from the “i School” (MLIS), a handful of seats will reserved for MSW students at U of I.

Another publication!

This research with Dr. Elizabeth A. Wahler et al. examines the self-identified psychosocial needs of library patrons at a large urban branch in the Midwest. It also looks at the needs of 194 patrons who sought assistance from social work students conducting their field placements at this particular branch.

Wahler, E. A., Provence, M. A., Johnson, S. C., Helling, J., & Williams, M. (2021). Library patrons’ psychosocial needs: Perceptions of need and reasons for accessing social work services. Social Work, 1–9.

Surveys for needs assessments


Beth Wahler, a faculty member of the Indiana University School of Social Work, has conducted needs assessments with a number of public libraries around the U.S. She has also partnered with social work programs at multiple universities to provide assistance to their students conducting needs assessments as part of their practicum.  Dr. Wahler is willing to share the staff and patron surveys she has used with other schools and libraries as needed.  She can be reached at  For more info about her work, please see Wahler et al. (2019) and Provence et al. (2020). 


Wahler, E. A.,Provence, M. A., Helling, J., & Williams, M. A. (2019).  The changing role of libraries:  How social workers can help.  Families in Society, 101(1), 34-43.

Provence, M. A., Wahler, E. A.,Helling, J., & Williams, M. A. (2020).  Self-reported psychosocial needs of public library patrons:  Comparisons based on housing status.  Public Library Quarterly.

Link to webinar recording

Thank you to the hundreds of folks who logged in yesterday for the Social Work Students and Public Library Partnerships webinar.

Here is the link to the recorded webinar (YouTube), pdf slides, handouts, and list of Resources.

Please contact me with any updates on new collaborations, especially any updates on how your branch’s social work interns are navigating remote resource assistance for patrons.

Thanks again!

Social work interns open for business!

Even during the current pandemic, social work library interns continue to provide services remotely to patrons in need. View links below learn about the work students are doing, such as providing information on employment, ways to cope with stress and anxiety, and offering emotional support to patrons:

Forest Park Public Library (IL), Elmhurst Public Library (IL), Northlake Public Library (IL), Baldwin Library (NY), Jacksonville Public Library (IL), Center Moriches Public Library (NY)



This website is featured in Sara Zettervall and Mary Nienow’s new book Whole Person Librarianship in which they dedicate a full chapter (#3) to social work student placements. You can access resources they provide here.

The aim of this site is to raise awareness about social work student/public library partnerships currently taking place throughout North America and the need for such collaborations to increase in order to better meet the needs of library patrons.

Celebrating interns
Two MSW interns from Southern Illinois University wrap up their placements at Carbondale Public Library (IL).


If you know of an existing collaboration between schools of social work and public libraries, or you would like your own school or library featured here, please contact me.

“Having the services of a social work student available to our patrons is an example of how libraries are changing and expanding services” – Cindy Mangel, Bound Brook Library branch manager (Somerset County, NJ).


Carbondale Public Library. (2019, May 8). Facebook post. Retrieved from

TapInto Staff. (2018, January 28). Rutgers Social Worker Provides Assistance at Somerville Library. Retrieved from

Zettervall, S. K., & Nienow, M. C. (2019). Whole person librarianship: A social work approach to patron services. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.