GARDEN CITY, Idaho — Public libraries have evolved beyond books to offer a suite of public services, and a new pilot program is providing a part-time social worker to visitors at the Garden City Public library.
“Our main goal is to provide information to the public, and I was looking for a faster way to provide that information,” said Lindsey Pettyjohn, library director.
Using money from the American Rescue Plan Act, the Garden City Public Library has hired a licensed social worker, three days a week.
“Social workers (are) not a new thing in libraries. It is new in our area, but it may have been around for about 10 years, they found a need for it,” Pettyjohn said.
Library staff says it’s another service to help library users.
“So, people can come in and let Mary, our licensed social worker, know what issues they are having, and she can point them in the right direction. She may not solve all their problems, but she can at least get them a place to start,” Pettyjohn said. “Because usually when you have one problem, there are a lot of problems. It’s not just a housing problem, it’s a child care problem, it’s an education funding problem, and she can assist with that.”
Mary Francis has been a social worker for about 23 years.
“I sure hope to meet a lot of people and share my knowledge of the different services and resources in the area and also to be able to meet a lot of people that are providing those resources that I may not be aware of,” Francis said.
Francis will be available for walk-ins or appointments on Tuesday, Thursdays from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.