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

Library conference goes worldwide

Library 2.013, a worldwide virtual conference that was co-founded by the San José State University School of Library and Information Sciences, and Steve Hargadon, the director of Web 2.0 Labs, goes online Friday. The virtual conference is free to attend and will run around the clock starting on Oct. 18, at 6:30 a.m., standard pacific time, until Oct. 19 at 9 p.m., standard pacific time.

The conference is geared toward library and information specialists and is a free forum “designed to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing among information professionals worldwide,” according to a welcome letter on the conference’s website ( The schedule will run around the clock to accommodate virtual attendees from around the world. Visitors can click on their nearest timezone to get a schedule of events that will match their clocks.

Those who participate will have a chance to discuss such topics as:

  • MOOCs
  • e-books
  • maker spaces
  • mobile services
  • embedded librarians
  • green libraries

Dr. Sandy Hirsh, the director of the School of Library and Information Sciences in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts at San José State University said University President Mohammad Qayoumi recorded a welcome address that will start the conference off Friday morning. She said in past years participants have also been in attendance for the closing reception.

“People actually like to attend to debrief,” Hirsh said.

For more on the conference, visit For more on the School of Library and Information Sciences, visit