Social workers in the library have become increasingly popular, as libraries are a source of information, education, and services for the entire community. Social workers are more than therapists – they are coordinators, advocates, educators, consultants, and mediators. They are the perfect bridge to all social services, such as housing assistance, financial management, mental health treatment, and even food pantries. 2020 has shown us, now more than ever, that social workers are vital to communities.
It is no secret that 2020 was a tumultuous and trying year. So far, 2021 has not been any easier. Things are always changing, and it’s hard to keep track of what’s open and what services are offered where. COVID-19 has hurt individuals and communities in more ways than we could have ever imagined, but the Monroeville Public Library has been working hard to serve the community – from book bundles to virtual programs to something as simple as a friendly voice over the phone.
This past September, I started interning with Monroeville Public Library and saw so many needs across Allegheny County, as well as in our own backyard of Monroeville. People need services they never thought they would have needed, and figuring out where to go or who to ask is just one of the many hurdles. That’s why the first project I worked on was creating an online resource guide that listed the local resources Monroeville and the surrounding area has to offer. You can find it online, on the Monroeville Public Library Website. Compiling and creating this for the local community was a great start – but it has its limitations, because talking with the community and offering resources is really what the heart of social work is.
That is why I have created a “Talk with a Social Work Intern” service, which will be held every Wednesday from 2 pm to 4 pm or by appointment. I will be available via phone at 412-372-0500 ext. 117 or Zoom video call meeting number 854 8666 8938 to assist patrons with information and access to emergency personal services, social services, and any other topics individuals may need assistance navigating. (Please note that this is not professional therapy – rather referral services and assistance – as I am a student intern, not a licensed therapist.)
Ultimately, we at Monroeville Public Library want to help. A social work intern is just one of the many things we have to offer, and is the next step in connecting us all in this very isolated time. So as we navigate 2021, make sure to like the Monroeville Public Library on Facebook, visit our website for our latest updates, and call if you have any questions.
Gracie Brickner is a first-year Masters of Social Work student at the University of Pittsburgh. She is studying Community, Organization, and Social Action and hopes to work in community development or nonprofit sustainability.