Georgetown has grown rapidly in the last few years, and with that growth Georgetown Public Library employees have seen an increase in families and seniors in crisis and those who are homeless. Library staff assisting these patrons often find that services are available, but researching those services and the agencies that provide them is challenging. Needs include housing, food, clothing, rent, medical and dental care, mental health services, transportation, disability benefits, and benefits for veterans.
Seeing the need to help people find these types of services, the Library has created a new community resources coordinator position. The coordinator will be a licensed social worker who can talk with patrons who have social service needs and help them navigate available services.
The position also will work with nonprofit and governmental social service organizations in the region and will assist nonprofit organizations to use Library materials and resources. The Library will provide space for nonprofit organizations to meet with clients, conduct trainings, and provide informational fairs.
“Librarians by profession are information providers,” says Eric Lashley, director of the Georgetown Public Library. “We came to realize that providing the information many of these residents were requesting required a different set of skills and knowledge base. Therefore, we wanted to have a member of our staff with the right set of skills to help this segment of our population and we feel a person with knowledge of social work and the social services sector would be most beneficial.”
The position is funded by a three-year grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Texas State Library and Archives. The position is currently posted and Lashley hopes to have the new coordinator in place next month.