2023 Project: Putting research into practice

I’m excited to start on a new project this year alongside my co-researcher, and co-author, Dr. Beth Wahler. We’ve been chosen to help public libraries in New Jersey prepare for and implement a program for hiring social work student interns at their branches, beginning in the Fall of 2023. Starting this month, we will meet regularly with public librarians as well as social work field supervisors at Rutgers University (NJ). The aim of our meetings will be to prepare both library “task supervisors” and social work “field supervisors” about best practices for hosting social work students at public libraries. Throughout this nine month process, Dr. Wahler and I will develop and a toolkit and curriculum of best practices for hosting social work students. This will be an iterative process in which we will provide guidance and education based on our extensive research and, in turn, learn from our participants about their needs and strengths of how a partnership with social work students can help meet the needs of library patrons and library staff.

After laying the groundwork with both the library and social work supervisors, we will begin meeting with the social work students during the Fall 2023 semester in the same fashion: monthly meetings via Zoom; providing guidance and education; garnering questions and feedback from students; writing and editing the curriculum and toolbook as needed. We will continue to guide these students throughout the 2023-24 academic year.

The aim of this project, funded by the New Jersey State Library, is to refine best practices for hosting and working with social work student interns at public libraries. We aim to work alongside the students and their supervisors to help ensure successful placements.

For more information, check out: https://www.njstatelib.org/news/join-njsl-social-work-informed-library-services-in-new-jersey-for-an-information-session/

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