Honouring the Role of Libraries in Social Work

March 16, 2023 | Stacey

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Posted on behalf of Services to Vulnerable Persons (SVP).

As we celebrate Social Work Month in March, let us revisit the important role the library plays as a social support site.

Social workers, much like library professionals, break down barriers to access. Public libraries are hiring social workers in Canada and the United States to work with people who are vulnerable and those living in poverty.

The goal is to connect individuals and families to programs and services that meet their needs. Many front-line social workers provide one-on-one support to assist individuals as they seek solutions to the challenges they are facing. They also connect people with relevant benefits and services.

Other social workers engage in activism and work at a larger scale; for example, they work with the community to address poverty, food insecurity and advocate on behalf of vulnerable persons.

Banner with text "Respecting Diversity Through Joint Social Action. World Social Work Day March 21, 2023."
March 21 marks Social Work Day according to the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)

Libraries support your well-being and that of your community. To some extent, our library services complement those offered by other agencies. In essence, we are an extension of the web of resources available in our city.

Some of our services like the PRESTO card initiative, Personal Care Bank, Wi-Fi Hotspot lending, and Adult Literacy Services, meet the basic needs of vulnerable individuals. Other services support your educational and employment goals. We also address the specific needs of our communities by offering resources and services such as health and wellness, financial literacy and Financial Empowerment programs, and settlement services.

Your local branch can help you find information related to emergency shelters and housing, social assistance, counselling, mental health, health care and more. Our knowledgeable staff can help you navigate these resources by using tools like 211, Helpseeker.org or the Toronto Central Health line.

If you are looking to form connections with the community at large, join us in our Coffee and Conversation program at the Jane/Dundas branch. You will meet supportive staff, learn about community resources and chat with other customers.

We look forward to connecting you with these programs and services on your next visit to the library!