Social Workers in the Library (SWITL) is a program initiated at the King Library, in partnership with San José State University's School of Social Work, the National Association of Social Workers - California Chapter, and the SJSU School of Library and Information Services. Social workers volunteer their time to meet with the public at the King Library (1st and 4th Mondays of each month, 6-8 p.m.) and the Biblioteca Branch Library (3rd Monday of the month, 6-8 p.m.) offering information/referral, and advice, based on their knowledge and years of experience, absolutely FREE of charge.
Avina has been volunteering with Social Workers in the Library for nearly a year. The following is an interview with Avina Ramnani, about her work with Social Workers in the Library.
What brought you to the library in search of a volunteer position?
As a San José State University Student, I was in the King Library all the time. It was really my home away from home. I love this library. After completing my work as project coordinator with CommUniversity I was searching for a meaningful volunteer opportunity. As part of my duties at CommUniversity had me reading to young children, I began my quest in the Children's Room at the King Library. There, I met a librarian who spoke with me about volunteer positions currently available at the library. Social Workers in the Library seemed a perfect match, and so I began my stint as a volunteer.
What enticed you about Social Workers in the Library?
I felt as if SWITL was somewhat of an extension of CommUniversity. People come in search of possible solutions or guidance for the situations they are facing, and are welcomed with sensitivity, an open mind and resources they can use.
What does your volunteer job entail?
I assist in setting up the reception area and the room in which the social workers meet with their library customers. I greet both social workers and customers and make sure they are comfortably settled. I offer support to SWITL customers, helping them to complete an initial waiver and following their consultation, a satisfaction survey. I also juggle appointment schedules, as some of our customers show up early and others late. At the conclusion of our program, I pack up all resource and display items, and ensure they are easily accessible for the following session. I also attended an in-service and met with social workers representing community agencies from throughout San José.
Would you recommend this volunteer position to others?
Yes, absolutely. This is a volunteer job that anyone can do. You listen. At times because people share their circumstances with you, you feel sad. But you know they are going to receive help. It makes your day, and is bound to make you feel like you've done something meaningful. I really believe in this program.