The Cuyahoga County Public Libraries saw there was a need to help those that came to the library. That’s when they decided to hire a social worker to help the public at large. Meet Bryanta L. Spencer, LISW-S, CCTP-Social Work Manager. She is a licensed independent Social Worker and founder of Fortitude Wellness and Consultations LLC where she provides psychotherapy and professional development training. She holds certifications as a Clinical Trauma Professional and Mental Health First Aider.
To complement her passion for helping others and rooting for the underdog, she completed her undergraduate studies at The Ohio State University earning dual degrees in Social Work and Communications with a minor in Criminology. She also holds a Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University.
Currently, she is serving as the Social Work Manager of Cuyahoga County Public library. Social services being provided in libraries is a growing trend and she is the first Social Worker in Cuyahoga County to be employed by a library system. Liner Legal’s Katie Nobles spoke to Bryanta to learn more about her position and how you can get help.
KN: How did you transition to working at the library?
BS: I came across the posting and thought how amazing it is that they are willing to staff someone to meet the social needs of the public. My social work experience taught me that the library is the one place where everyone is welcomed so I knew there was a high level of need. At the time, I was already transitioning professionally and took a chance on a new environment.
KN: Tell me about the different programs you offer at the library.
BS: The library offers an abundance of programs for all ages about literacy, art, health and connection. In my role, I don’t offer a specific service such as case management but serve as a bridge connecting those in need to resources.
KN: Do you often see people going to the library when they need help applying for benefits?
BS: Benefits is a huge reason those in need utilize the branches be it for the computer, faxing or uploading documents, or questions about the process or application. Our staff spend a significant portion of time assisting with JFS applications or issues.
KN: How do people get help if they need it?
BS: Social Work information and referrals are posted in each branch and on the public website which allows customers to contact me on their own. If they would like staff assistance, staff also help with getting them referred. Staff also consult me on varying issues for guidance. I also try my best to be visible at the branches especially those with high social needs to allow customers a “walk-in” experience. People have been grateful for the assistance and rather patient understanding that there is one of me and twenty-seven branches.
KN: What is the future for social work at the Cuyahoga County Public Libraries?
BS: The goal is to add another social worker and expand the social service reach in CCPL through increased community engagement and partnerships. An important part of my role is engaging the community and networking to build relationships and also stay abreast of current reputable resources. My referrals are based on relationships that help to increase the likelihood of favorable outcomes.
Learn more about this program and the Cuyahoga County Public Libraries on their website at https://cuyahogalibrary.org/. Liner Legal is always here to help those needing assistance applying or fighting for disability benefits. You can learn more about Liner Legal at www.LinerLegal.com.