“No One Told Me”

A Dialog on Preparing Public Librarians to Provide Social Services in Public Libraries


  • Melissa Gross Florida State University School of Information
  • Don Latham Florida State University, School of Information https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3966-7983
  • Brittany Baum Florida State University, School of Information https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5684-5219
  • Lauren Crabtree Florida State University, School of Information




social services, public libraries, interviews, education for librarianship, social justice


Libraries are being called upon to assist with a variety of social problems including everything from housing and food insecurity to disaster recovery. In response, some public libraries have called on social workers to help. These developments beg the question of whether information professionals are being prepared for the realities of public library careers. This presentation reports findings from a series of 28 interviews with public librarians and branch managers to explore their views on how library and information science programs can ensure that students are prepared to respond to their community’s social service needs. Findings reveal that the inclusion of social work interview skills, de-escalation training, knowledge of social service resources, and instruction on how to collaborate with and supervise social workers would better prepare students for the realities of working in public libraries.


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Juried Papers