St. Louis County Library, in partnership with the St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund, will be launching the Community Resource Initiative, which will bring social workers to five Library branches to address the barriers of accessing social services, providing trusted referrals to other community partners, and equipping Library employees to handle crisis situations.
The Library will strategically connect high-need patrons with experienced generalist practitioners at the following Library branches: Florissant Valley, Lewis & Clark, Natural Bridge, Rock Road, and Weber Road.
Social workers, which will be hired as contractors from an existing case management organization, have a strong understanding of available community resources, the ability to provide mental health support and crisis intervention, and the skills to build connections with patrons and Library partners. The social workers will also train Library employees in crisis management, trauma-informed practice, and de-escalation techniques.
“This partnership builds on the role our libraries play in our community,” said St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page. “Libraries have long been a connector to families and the addition of social workers enhances those relationships.”
“St. Louis County Library branches are an invaluable resource for many families in the region as children and families facing food insecurity, homelessness, unemployment, mental health issues, substance use and other crises are regular visitors at the library. Bringing in social workers through the Community Resource Initiative will not only allow them to connect directly with the public, but they will also teach the library employees invaluable skills to aid in their daily work,” said CSF Executive Director Emily Koenig.
The initiative will also allow the social worker to create programs suited to each branch’s specific needs, such as a youth-oriented program for a branch with a high number of unaccompanied youth. Kristen Sorth, St. Louis County Library Director & CEO said, “Having social workers at the Library will be a perfect complement to our amazing employees. Many people come to the library looking for answers, information and compassion. Adding social workers will strengthen and expand our ability to support individuals and connect them with community resources.”
“Having social workers at the Library will be a perfect complement to our amazing employees,” said Kristen Sorth, St. Louis County Library Director & CEO. “Many people come to the library looking for answers, information and compassion. Adding social workers will strengthen and expand our ability to support individuals and connect them with community resources.”
This initiative builds upon SLCL’s previous work of connecting patrons with food, diapers, and hygiene assistance, as well as efforts to train Library employees on mental health awareness and serving individuals experiencing homelessness.
The two-year pilot Community Resource Initiative launch will coincide with the start of the school year next fall.