Social Workers in the Library: An Innovative Approach to Address Library Patrons’ Social Service Needs


  • Lili Luo School of Library and Information Science, San Jose State University
  • Deborah Estreicher San José Public Library
  • Peter A. Lee School of Social Work, San Jose State University
  • Cyndy Thomas National Association of Social Workers
  • Glenn Thomas National Association of Social Workers


social service, social work, public library, social worker in the library


Social Worker in the Library (SWITL) is a unique program where social workers partner with public librarians to provide information consultation services to the public. The goal of SWITL is to support social justice by expanding access to information regarding local social service programs, especially for the traditionally disadvantaged populations. Evaluation research has been conducted to gather input from both library patrons and library staff in order to determine the efficacy of the program. Findings suggest that SWITL has been a professional and helpful program, while there are still areas for improvement and additional efforts need to be made in response to these suggested improvement and make SWITL a more effective and efficient program in promoting social justice.