La Crosse library to hire social worker to help people connect with community resources

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — If you need help getting connected with community resources, the La Crosse Public Library can help.

The library is adding a social worker to its staff.

“Especially after the pandemic, we know there are a lot of folks that are struggling with housing insecurity, food insecurity, mental illness,” Library Director Shanneon Grant said.

La Crosse is not the only library to do so. Libraries all across the state of Wisconsin will hire social workers using ARPA funds.

“La Crosse Public Library is part of a collaboration of libraries who are working to get someone with a social worker background,” Grant said.

Grant says it is common for people to come to the library seeking help.

“We see a lot of folks who come in, in crisis and don’t know where to go,” Grant said.

Gundersen Health System social services manager Jen Linse says social workers help people find the resources they need.

“Really a social worker would be somebody to connect with to talk through what’s going on in your life and what those issues are,”  Linse said.

Sometimes, social workers just need to lend an ear, Linse said.

“They may benefit from just having someone listen,” Linse said.

Library staff feel it is necessary to provide resources for those who need it.

“Change and evolve to meet the needs of our community,” Grant said. “This is just a need that we see and a way we can help.”

Grant intends to train the rest of the library staff so they can direct people to the right resources. Anyone who is interested in applying for the position and has background in social work can do so through the library’s website.

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