Social work

Spokane Public Library to Add New Social Work Team to Central Branch | News

SPOKANE, Wash. — The downtown Central Public Library closed for renovations in February 2020, and plans to reopen early this year. When it does, they include a few new additions to the space, including a recording studio, radio station, children’s play area, event spaces, and more. And it will all be handled by the new Social Worker Intake Team, a team of social work interns from Eastern Washington University.

According to the release, this addition of a master’s degree in social work to the library system has already seen great success in other cities across the country, from Denver to Indianapolis.

Andrew Chanse, Executive Director of Spokane Public Libraries, said, “We have seen a growing need for additional support for some of our customers that goes beyond the expertise of traditional library staff.”

The hope is that by adding this crucial new resource, they will be better able to serve the unique intersection of library patrons seen at the branch, especially those facing exceptional life difficulties and challenges. .

The downtown branch has long been known for providing daytime shelter to area homeless people, but Paul Chapin, director of operations and public services at the Spokane Public Library, who developed the program and partnership , explained that it was not just about targeting the homeless.

“By making this staffing change, we can create synergy with EWU and make a real difference in our community and ensure that the Central Library is a welcoming place for everyone,” he said. “The welcoming team will not only help people experiencing homelessness, but will also serve any population that may be facing challenges in life”

While this is a great, much-needed opportunity to provide resources to underserved demographics, there were concerns that adding new responsibilities to frontline library staff would cause unnecessary burden and stress.

This is where EWU comes in.

“The mission of Eastern Washington University is to expand opportunities for personal transformation,” said Dr. Jonathan Anderson, provost of Eastern Washington University. “This partnership highlights a significant investment from Spokane Public Libraries and Eastern Washington University that is positively impacting our downtown community.”

The program created by the Home Team is modeled after the CARES Team created in 2008 at the Spokane Fire Department. The host team will place interns from EWU’s social work program in the Spokane Public Library to help connect individuals to the resources they need. A newly created position with a Masters in Social Work will oversee practicum hours.

“The need is there, we can’t ignore it, so we can adapt to meet the needs of all customers and continue to offer traditional library services,” said Lara Hemingway, chair of the board of trustees. Spokane Public Library.

The Branch and Social Services Manager position is now open. Qualified candidates are encouraged to apply!