Confidentiality.  When necessary, it’s important to provide adequate space for interns to meet with patrons in a private. At the very least, students need to protect confidentiality of patrons when discussing sensitive topics or when conducting phone calls.  Confidentiality and privacy are shared values among social workers and librarians.

Legality.  Some libraries place restrictions on the type of services social work students can provide. Typically this may involve allowing students only to provide basic reference and advocacy services, as opposed to managing a client caseload and/or carrying out clinically-focused work with patrons.

Funding & tracking effectiveness of social work services. Listen to Dr. Kirk Foster and Carrie Draper’s interview on the inSocialWork podcast about University of South Carolina interns at the Richland County Public Library in Columbia, SC.


Draper, C., & Foster, K. (2019, February). inSocialWork Podcast #264 – Carrie Draper and Dr. Kirk Foster: Exploring the Integration of Social Workers into the Library Setting (G. Hamilton, Interviewer) [Podcast interview – Audio]. Podcast interview – Audio presented at the Exploring the Integration of Social Workers into the Library Setting. Retrieved from

Zettervall, S. (2015, July 28). Ask WPL: Social Work Interns and Patron Privacy. Retrieved October 5, 2018, from