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Mandel Public Library offers social workers

Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach
Posted at 4:51 PM, Jan 11, 2022

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — More people are turning to their local library to find help with food and housing assistance or to get guidance to land a job. So the Mandel Public Library in downtown West Palm Beach is adding a new position to make sure their needs are met.

Jeremy Shuhi is a third grader from Boynton Beach. But twice a week he's in downtown West Palm Beach getting a leg up on his studies with the free afterschool help available from the Mandel Public Library.

For more than a decade, the Mandel Public Library has been offering free homework help to students in grades K-12.

Everyone is welcome and no registration is required

"Most libraries were not offering things like that 10 years ago, and now so many more are," said Kathy Hage, the youth services supervisor for the library.

Hage knows the needs of the community are evolving rapidly.

"Over the past few years we have found a lot more questions about rental assistance a lot more questions about community resources that are available. We've received a lot more questions even from families who are temporarily experiencing homelessness. As librarians we were very eager to help but we were less equipped to answer," Hage said.

And that's prompting the library to post a new position that's currently available, a social worker

"It's been catching on in libraries across the country," Hage said. "Miami-Dade County has one social worker and Orange County has a full-time social worker and when you look across the country and even North America, there are no other libraries that have social workers that are focusing on youth and families."

Pairing well with the library's robust programs to connect kids to food and education

"In the same way that the homework center was a very cutting-edge program 10 years ago when we launched it, we hope the same is true of the social work program for youth and families," Hage said.

Building a solid foundation for children paving the way to a promising future ahead.