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Spokane Public Library adding social workers to downtown location

Rebecca White/SPR
The remodeled downtown Spokane Public Library, pictured here in 2021, is scheduled to re-open in June.

When the public library in downtown Spokane opens this summer, it will have several new services, including a staff of social workers.

Several other large library systems across the country, such as Denver and Indianapolis, have already added social workers to their staff to help address their community’s evolving needs.

Spokane Public Libraries spokesperson, Amanda Donovan, says social workers could help patrons connect to homeless services and domestic violence resources, or help out with applying for financial aid or other government programs.

“The library's a really special place where a lot of different populations intersect, and we feel like a social worker, a team of social workers will really be able to connect our customers, regardless of the life challenges they might be facing," she said.

She says the library is looking to hire an employee with a master’s in social work to oversee an intern staff, made up of Eastern Washington University students studying social work. Donovan says the team will start at the downtown library, but could expand to branches across the city once the program is underway.