Social Workers in the Library program gets high marks

Peter Allen Lee, a professor with the School of Social Work and Lili Luo, a professor with the School of Library and Information Sciences, received a College of Applied Sciences and Arts Incentive Grant for 2011-12 to evaluate a program created in 2007 that connects residents with social workers at public libraries. The San José State University professors’ evaluation of the program has been published as a journal article


Lee and Luo set out to look at the efficacy of the program started in 2007 by local Librarian Deborah Estreicher and Lee. The goal of the program is to seek ways to increase access to information about social service programs and to look for ways the program can be improved. For the last few years, professional social workers, with the support of the National Association of Social Workers, have been volunteering to meet one-on-one twice a month with those seeking information about social services.  The program is not intended to provide an ongoing relationship between the patrons and social workers, but to help connect patrons with services in the community.

In questionnaires from those using the services, Lee and Luo found that they reported the service to be helpful or very helpful. The main areas in which people sought advice was in finding services for housing, food, health and mental  health services, and employment. In 20-minute sessions, social workers offered referral information to patrons to connect them with such services. Other services patrons sought included grief support, family counseling and legal advice.  The evaluation found that seeing patrons in the library, which included a waiting area and private room was rated well. Patrons also liked the undivided attention in the private session as well as the system of screening and appointment scheduling.

For a longer summary of the evaluation of the Social Work in the Libraries, see the attached PDF Social Workers in the Library. For the journal article, visit

Professor Marjorie Freedman’s Let’s Move! Faith and Communities video brings her to a White House celebration with Michelle Obama

Dr. Freedman at the White House

by Marjorie Freedman

Dr. Marjorie Freedman’s winning 3-minute video won her a trip to the White House! The video describes the collaborative effort between San Jose State University (SJSU) and Most Holy Trinity Church (MHT) to fight childhood obesity in a low-income population comprised primarily of ethnic minorities (Vietnamese, Filipino, Hispanic and Samoan) living in East San Jose.

Freedman describes how she joined with parishioners (including Chris Rodriguez, RN, Health Minister) to create the MHT Food Justice Ministry, which worked to promote Let’s Move! key messages. With respect to healthy eating, teens participated in “Cooking Matters” and “Rethink Your Drink Classes.” Nutrition education materials included weekly bulletin columns in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, distribution of hundreds of bilingual children’s books promoting drinking water, and over 1000 Healthy Fresh Food Access Guides.  The video highlighted the development and adoption of a healthy food and beverage policy.  It described how MHT Food Justice partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank and Catholic Charities to promote CalFresh (SNAP or Food Stamp) benefits and how “double up bucks” programs enabled CalFresh participants to use their EBT card at local famers’ markets and the Farmstand at nearby Veggielution Community Farm.  Finally, the video highlighted how MHT youth are incorporating physical activity into their routines.  Filipino dance groups, Vietnamese Lion dancers, and the MHT Samoan Youth are shown practicing fun ways to “Move” while preserving their cultural identity.

Dr. Freedman would like to acknowledge the hard work and enthusiasm  of SJSU students, MHT parishioners, and the strong support of  collaborative partners (e.g., SCC Public Health Department, Social Services Agency, Three Squares, Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association, First 5 SCC, Second Harvest Food Bank, Catholic Charities, the Jewish Community Relations Council and Veggielution Community Farm) who all helped to make this program a success. Support for the program came from a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant, administered by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

MHT Food Justice is ongoing, and Dr. Freedman welcomes inquires from faculty, staff and students.  For more information please contact her at

The video is available at