In addition to macro-level programming and services to patrons, MSW students often provide micro-level services that include advocacy, referrals, and assistance with navigating e-forms. The term “micro” does imply services are any less important to patrons than those delivered on a larger, macro-level. Another way to envision such services is that micro work tends to involve one-on-one, interpersonal collaboration with patrons.
At Newark Public Library “the Reference Department worked with two student interns from Rutgers School of Social Work. Providing counseling, referrals to agencies, and follow-up on cases, they furthered the work of our librarians by assisting our public with critical issues such as finding housing, domestic abuse, mental and physical illnesses and disabilities, and access to legal aid” (Newark Public Library).
Students at Kansas City Public Library and Anchorage Public Library compile resource books for patrons in need of local social services. The latter offers “MSW Tabling” events where patrons can “meet with the our social work intern and find out about possible services for you and your family” (Anchorage Public Library).
At the Long Branch Free Public Library in New Jersey, Community Connects “is a social work initiative for on-site support from 12 to 15 community agencies to help residents with health care, housing, and other necessary services. In conjunction with Monmouth University’s School of Social Work, there is also a social work intern at the library” (Library Journal).
Interns in the Niles Library District (MI) assist patrons with completing online applications for financial assistance and job applications (Hammon).
Rutgers intern Joshue Hildago “recalls aiding a patron who had lost all his personal documents and could not apply for a job or housing without the proper identification. Together, they were able to create an action plan and connect with the appropriate sources to receive a copy of the patron’s documents. Through the recovery of the documents the patron was able to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, and other recovery services” (TapInto Staff).
“I have come to define my role as a community resources coordinator bringing awareness of these services to every patron walking in through the Library doors, empowering them to reach a higher quality of life. My desire, along with community partners and library staff, is to provide a one-stop shop model in which patrons can access resources for education, emergency services, employment, family matters, health improvement, and immigration…” Rutgers MSW Intern Joshue Hildago, speaking about his placement at the Somerville Public Library (TapInto Staff).
At the Carbondale Public Library in Illinois, social work interns provide “resume help or medical, food, housing, clothing, ID/documentation, or education assistance” (The Bookmark). They also “assist people with identifying and accessing area services. By advocating for clients, they’ve helped people find jobs and emergency assistance. They have successfully found housing for individuals and families on the verge of homelessness” (The Southern).
Anchorage Public Library. (2018). Events. Retrieved October 30, 2018, from http://anchoragelibrary.evanced.info/signup/List?nomobile=1
Anchorage Public Library. (2018, October 25). MSW Tabling. Retrieved November 2, 2018, from http://www.anchoragelibrary.org/events/full-calendar?eventId=22023
Hammon, K. (2018, June 18). Niles District Library partners with area libraries to offer social service workers. Leader Publications. Retrieved October 4, 2018, from https://www.leaderpub.com/2018/06/18/niles-district-library-partners-with-area-libraries-to-offer-social-service-workers/
Library Journal. (2017, March 13). Tonya Angelique Garcia: Movers & Shakers 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2018, from http://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=tonya-angelique-garcia-movers-shakers-2017-innovators
Newark Public Library. (2017). The Newark Public Library Annual Report 2017 (pp. 4–5). Newark Public Library. Retrieved from https://npl.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Annual-Report-for-2017.pdf
TapInto Staff. (2018, January 28). Rutgers Social Worker Provides Assistance at Somerville Library. Retrieved from https://www.tapinto.net/towns/somerville/articles/rutgers-social-worker-provides-assistance-at-some
Carbondale Public Library. (2018, April). The Bookmark. Retrieved from http://carbondalepubliclibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/BookMark-AMJ-2018.pdf
The Southern. (2016, December 20). Carbondale Public Library hires third social work intern to help homeless. Retrieved October 30, 2018, from https://thesouthern.com/news/local/communities/carbondale/carbondale-public-library-hires-third-social-work-intern-to-help/article_6ad1201f-b34a-53cb-bf31-1165e1aec642.html