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Local public library looks to hire a social worker to connect community to resources

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Posted at 6:56 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 20:06:16-04

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library is looking for a new social worker to help in its efforts of connecting the public with resources.

“Social work in libraries is a growing field in libraries across the country,” said David Siders, the civic engagement coordinator for the library. “Generational poverty, the lack of livable wages. The need for affordable housing. We are very conscious of those issues.”

Siders works closely with members of the community on a daily basis, and he will work alongside the person the library chooses as its new social worker.

Siders said the person in that role will dive deep into finding and helping people in need.

"We believe in self-determination, so we want to listen to people and hear from them and help them navigate services,” he said.

The library’s social worker will connect community members with services from agencies outside of the library such as the Cincinnati Scholar House, a program that offers subsidized housing for single parents enrolled in post-secondary education.

“We have our specialties, we have our team in place,” said Scholar House managing director Rainie Moody. “But we don’t know everything, so we need the community. We need to know what is out there to connect other resources with our single parents.”

The Scholar House, located in Walnut Hills, also houses a child development center for those single parents, Moody said.

"We have case management services,” Moody said. “Wraparound services to help our parents get through school and move through the challenges of being a single parent."

As the library looks to fill the social worker position, Siders said his team hasn’t stopped serving the community. The library's virtual information center staff has continued to field calls from the public during the pandemic from home.

“We fielded hundreds of calls a day,” said Siders. “It provided a sense of normalcy for people as much as possible with new questions about sudden unemployment: 'How do I navigate the new CARES Act funding and how do I file for unemployment?’”