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ERIC Number: EJ1409541
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2024
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0748-5786
EISSN: EISSN-2328-2967
"I Didn't Know It Would Be Like This": Professional Preparation for Social-Service Information Work in Public Libraries
Melissa Gross; Don Latham; Brittany Baum; Lauren Crabtree; Karen Randolph
Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, v65 n1 p40-54 2024
Recent semi-structured interviews with 28 librarians and branch managers on the placement of social workers in public libraries revealed a need for library and information science (LIS) programs to better prepare students for their role as social service information providers and to provide models for working with and supervising social workers in the library. It is clear that libraries are experiencing increasing demands to respond to the social-service information needs that users bring to the library, and the importance of libraries to communities in times of uncertainty and crisis is clear. In response, some libraries are including social workers on staff, but this trend does not completely relieve librarians of the need to serve the public's social-service information needs. LIS students need to understand the professional boundaries of librarianship and social work and to develop the ability to feel confident in their interactions with users who have been traumatized, are in crisis, or are struggling with challenges such as the need for credible health information; home and food insecurity information; legal aid; access to the Internet for individuals and families from low-income situations; accessible adult education programs; and more. Interview participants offered a number of suggestions for how to incorporate social work concepts into LIS education and asked for several specific skills such as training in mental-health first aid, de-escalation techniques, and greater knowledge of social-service resources.
Association for Library and Information Science Education. Available from: University of Toronto Press. 5201 Dufferin Street, Toronto, ON, M3H 5T8 Canada. Tel: 416-667–7929; Fax: 416-667–7832; e-mail:; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A