U.S. Census Bureau data from 2019 states that approximately 5 percent of Somerset County residents live at or below the poverty line and 5.4 percent of Somerset County residents under the age of 65 do not have access to health insurance.
If you or a loved one are facing hardships due to the pandemic or other circumstances, the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) can help. Since 2017, SCLSNJ has partnered with interns from Rutgers School of Social Work to connect Library customers to resources.
“Not only can an intern provide information and referral services to those in need, an intern can facilitate the referral of an individual to a community partner, including police, family and children’s services, employment centers, housing, food programs, immigrant and refugee services, and more,” said Lauren Ryan, manager of branch services, strategic initiatives and special projects. “The social work intern protects the privacy of patrons and works to establish a therapeutic relationship with a patron to facilitate lasting change.”
“For the last four years, SCLSNJ’s partnership with the Rutgers University School of Social Work internship program has enhanced the organization’s ability to provide personalized support to the community,” said Nicole Pascoe, civic services supervisor. “As an extension of existing library services, our social work interns address the needs of shifting demographics by connecting patrons to community resources and providing assistance in navigating supportive information and services.”
Social work interns are available at the Bound Brook, North Plainfield, and Somerville branches; for the first time at the Manville branch; and for the convenience of all Library customers, also available remotely.
“We are going to be doing things a bit differently at the Manville branch,” continued Pascoe. “While the social work intern will not physically be at the branch, the Library System has arranged equipment in a private space to mimic the in-person experience so that Library customers can connect with the intern privately through a Google Meet session. During the pandemic and beyond, we want our customers to feel safe and comfortable when communicating with our social work interns.”
The interns, Veronica Delmonte, Isabelle Gunn, Jessica Jerez, and Cathryn Salladin, are working towards obtaining their bachelor’s degrees in social work. In addition to helping Library customers discover resources and information, they are also working with SCLSNJ staff to enhance the Library System’s offerings and programs.
“Searching for resources can be overwhelming, or one simply may not know where to start,” said Gunn. “By connecting patrons with resources directly I hope to remove any barriers and challenges that come with seeking resources. It’s helpful for a community to know that there is someone they can go to who cares about their well-being and wants to equip them with the tools to help them succeed.”
“Through interning with SCLSNJ, I hope to leave an impact on the lives of others and use my own experiences to empathize with people from all walks of life,” said Salladin. “This program also helps to eliminate gaps in access to technology and language, while creating a personal and warm environment.”
Social services assistance is available in English, Spanish, and Korean. All interns are available to meet remotely during their scheduled hours.
Connect with a social work intern:
Bound Brook branch, located at 402 East High Street in Bound Brook
- Mondays and Tuesdays, 4-7 p.m.
- Wednesdays, 3-6 p.m.
- Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Contact Delmonte: firstname.lastname@example.org or 908.458.8400 x2131
Manville branch, located at 100 South 10th Avenue in Manville
- Mondays, 2-5 p.m.
- Tuesdays, 12:30-2:30 p.m.
- Wednesdays, 1-4 p.m.
- Thursdays 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Contact Salladin: email@example.com or 908.458.8400 x2281
North Plainfield branch, located at 6 Rockview Avenue in North Plainfield
- Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, 4-8 p.m.
Contact Jerez: firstname.lastname@example.org 908.458.8400 x2384
Somerville branch, located at 35 West End Avenue in Somerville
- Mondays, 4-8 p.m.
- Thursdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Fridays: October 9, 16, 23; November 6, 13, 20; December 4, 11; 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Saturdays: October 31; November 28; 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Contact Gunn: email@example.com or 908.458.8400 x2482
In-branch hours start on October 5 and conclude on December 12. To schedule an in-person or virtual meeting with a social work intern: sclsnj.org/using-our-libraries/social-services-support. For more information about the social work program at SCLSNJ contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.