Whole Person Librarianship: A Social Work Approach to Patron Services

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Whole Person Librarianship guides librarians through the practical process of facilitating connections among libraries, social workers, and social services; explains why those connections are important; and puts them in the context of a national movement.

Collaboration between libraries and social workers is an exploding trend that will continue to be relevant to the future of public and academic libraries. Whole Person Librarianship incorporates practical examples with insights from librarians and social workers. The result is a new vision of library services.

The authors provide multiple examples of how public and academic librarians are connecting their patrons with social services. They explore skills and techniques librarians can learn from social workers, such as how to set healthy boundaries and work with patrons experiencing homelessness; they also offer ideas for how librarians can self-educate on these topics.

The book additionally provides insights for social work partners on how they can benefit from working with librarians. While librarians and social workers share social justice motivations, their methods are complementary and yet still distinct—librarians do not have to become social workers. Librarian readers will come away with many practical ideas for collaboration as well as the ability to explain why collaboration with social workers is important for the future of librarianship.


  • Gain multiple examples of library-social work collaboration to apply in your own library
  • Learn to articulate reasons librarians benefit from collaboration with social workers and vice versa
  • Know where to seek partnerships and how to start them
  • Develop a vision for how collaborations fit into the ideals of both professions and represent the future of librarianship
Libraries Unlimited
August 2019
Pages: 175
Sku: 9781440857768

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