Welcome and introduction

Title: Exploratory study on social workers and Canadian public libraries

Investigators: Liz Schweizer (Master of Social Work thesis student); Dr. Jessica Ayala (Supervisor)

You are invited to complete an online survey about your perspectives on the topic of social workers within Canadian public libraries. It has been sent to public library staff across Canada to gain an understanding of this emerging trend and to help provide contextual information for a case study that will follow. You do not need to be a social worker or work in a public library that currently employs social workers in order to participate.
This survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete. Please feel free to forward to your Canadian networks. It will remain open until August 18, 2017.

Background and purpose of study:
Canadian public libraries are reporting more clients with complex needs and multiple barriers accessing their branches, and social work may be well positioned to make significant contributions within these contexts. Despite the increasing number of libraries employing social workers, there is a significant absence in both social work and library sciences literature on the benefits and challenges of Canadian public libraries incorporating social workers within their operations, as well as any comprehensive tracking of this practice. 

This study aims to fill that gap through an initial national online survey capturing perspectives and experiences of Canadian public library employees on this topic, followed by case study research on Canadian public libraries that currently have social workers on staff. Its objective is to put forward recommendations for practice and further research.