Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Library Social Workers

The San Fransisco Public Library has hired a social worker to help it's homeless patrons.

"Public libraries are trying their best to serve their users and people who have traditionally been non-users," Alire said. "I hope that what the San Francisco Public Library has done by hiring a social worker serves as a model, because these people are educated and trained to help these patrons who have every right to use the public library system."

More libraries across the country are hiring therapists to train staff members how to handle stressful patrons. Edmond Otis, a psychotherapist, trains librarians how to talk to patrons who may be mentally ill or on drugs.

"There is a gigantic homeless population that basically 'passes' except nobody knows where they sleep," Otis said. "That population is growing. But we're looking at the mentally ill and drug addicted. And there are ways of talking to someone." That includes remaining calm, treating all patrons with respect, and setting rules and sticking to them, he said.

I hope many more libraries follow San Fransisco Public Library's example. I would definitely appreciate training on how to deal with high or mentally handicapped people. That is some scary stuff.


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