Central Library Hires Social Worker to Assist with Homelessness Services
Maria Temporal is joining the City of San Diego in an exciting new role that will assist public library patrons who are homeless and experiencing behavioral health issues. Maria is earning a master’s degree in social work from San Diego State University and will intern at the San Diego Central Library three days a week throughout the academic year. This is the first time a social work intern has been placed at a City library to assist with services and interventions.
“Libraries are one of the only public spaces that are still open to all people, so it’s important to that they can provide access to information and facilities for everyone,” Maria said. “Having social workers in libraries is necessary in addressing the housing crisis and I am glad the city of San Diego is beginning the steps to implement that practice.”
The City of San Diego isn’t alone in this effort—a growing number of major cities are recognizing the impact that libraries can have as social services providers. Over the course of her internship Maria will assemble a resource guide for library staff to assist in referring patrons to community resources and programs. In addition, she will provide some case management services to patrons and recommend professional development trainings and workshops for the library to better serve patrons experiencing homelessness.
“I’m passionate about empowering marginalized communities and it’s important to recognize systemic factors related to mental health,” Maria said. “Since this is the first year a social work intern has been placed at the library, I’ve had the exciting opportunity to work with library administration to identify projects I can work on during the academic year. The library has been so welcoming, and I am grateful to be spending my last practicum year here.”
Maria was hired in August through a new paid internship program at the City of San Diego. The Employ + Empower Internship Program was launched in June, thanks to $18.5 million in State funding for #CaliforniansForAll Youth Jobs Corps. The initiative
will help approximately 1,000 opportunity youth gain real-world work experience while serving their community and earning a paycheck. The program strives to recruit the next generation of public servants and enhance the retention and diversity of the City’s 11,000 employees.
“I would say I was most pleasantly surprised by how supportive the Employ + Empower Program is to its interns regarding the benefits and supportive services, such as assistance with professional attire and transportation,” Maria said.
Prior to starting her internship at the City, Temporal was an operations manager for a nonprofit called Girls Leadership. She also interned for the Union for Pan Asian Communities. She hopes to use this experience to help the library build partnerships and supportive services for their homeless patrons.
“I was motivated to pursue library social work because it meets clients where they're at and removes the stigma of clients receiving services at agencies,” Maria said.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a library visit with Maria, you can contact her at MTemporal@sandiego.gov or (619) 983-6493