Library Social Worker

City of Tacoma, WA
September 17, 2023
Tacoma, WA
Job Type


Position Description
Join a library system engaged in community-driven services to deliver an innovative and exciting future to residents of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Tacoma Public Library (TPL) serves over 200,000 residents in Tacoma, Washington.

We are seeking talented individuals to join our team, who:

  • Are strongly committed to listening to our community in order to deliver valued, needed and highly used library programs and services;
  • Are committed to working to support and deliver high quality, innovative, customer-focused services;
  • Are passionate about racial equity and social justice;
  • Have demonstrated success in building collaborative, high performing teams across departments;
  • Have a vision and understanding of trauma informed care and harm reduction with an eye to both current and future needs;
  • Are customer-focused; excellent communicator;
  • Are results-oriented and committed to collaboration

If you believe that the library can empower the community by bringing people together to discover, connect, create, learn, and thrive, your next position may be at TPL! We welcome applicants of all abilities.

Position Summary:
We are seeking a Social Worker to work directly with patrons needing social service assistance by providing information, support, and referrals to appropriate organizations. You will actively connect with library patrons to build ongoing relationships without direct case management. You will serve as a resource for library staff and model effective techniques for working with patrons experiencing mental health, substance abuse, unstable housing or living unsheltered, or other systemic issues. Represents TPL in building relationships with area social service agencies, governmental entities, and other relevant organizations. May supervise other social service providers including staff, social work students and/or peer navigators. Work is performed across the library system.

Are you excited about the idea of working in a diverse urban library system? The ideal candidate is committed to racial equity and social justice and has a passion for community service. Applying equity and social justice principles is a daily responsibility and a foundational expectation for all Tacoma Public Library employees. All employees are expected to model and apply our equity and social justice shared values, behaviors, and practices.

Responsibilities include:

  • Identify library patrons who may benefit from social service support through outreach, direct observation, or referral by library staff. Evaluate and assess patron's needs such as: housing, mental health, primary care, substance abuse, exclusion, domestic violence, etc.
  • Provide current and relevant information, support, referrals, and assistance to patrons experiencing mental health issues, substance abuse, unstable housing or living unsheltered, or exclusion issues
  • Serve as a resource and model to library staff to work effectively with patrons experiencing life challenges
  • Serve as a resource to library staff regarding community resources for at-risk individuals and families
  • Connect, build, and maintain partnerships with community agencies, neighborhood groups, social services agencies, and volunteer organizations to address the needs of patrons and potential patrons
  • Provide consultation to library staff on a daily basis as needed in regard to social service needs of patrons
  • Crisis assistance and intervention with patrons in the library as required
  • Serves as a resource for TPL as a whole on issues relevant to patrons experiencing mental health issues, substance abuse, unstable housing, or exclusion issues


  • Licensed Social Worker or Mental Health Counselor or bachelor's degree from a social work educational program accredited by the council on social work education.

Desired Qualifications

  • Experience providing direct service to at-risk, marginalized populations, people affected by housing insecurity, food insecurity, poverty and/or refugee and immigrant communities.
  • Experience with de-escalation.
  • Fluency in more than one language.

Frequent travel to neighborhood libraries and community organizations within the Puget Sound region, valid Washington State Driver's License or equivalent mobility is required.
Knowledge & Skills
Utilize knowledge, skills and abilities to effect positive change. Actively seek out information from the social services and library industries; pursue opportunities to develop networks with the intent to learn about best practices from other organizations and share Tacoma Public Library's best practices; take initiative in helping the organization to meet its goals; and be able to communicate how the Library is fulfilling its mission.

Customer Focus
Primarily focused on customer needs, able to deliver high-quality, value-added programs and services. Fosters equitable services and forges meaningful connections.

Valuing Diversity
Manages relationships with people inclusively and equitably; respects, values, and encourages the unique dimension each employee adds to the organization and each member of the community brings to the whole. Seeks opportunities to learn from differences.

Ethics, Values, and Judgment
Exercises best judgment, trustworthiness, and professional standards of conduct; consistently demonstrates organizational values, moral principles, and accountability in behavior, character, and action. Defends intellectual freedom and patron confidentiality.

Professional & Technical Knowledge
Demonstrates proficiency in professional and technical skills and or knowledge; keeps up with current developments and trends in areas of expertise, to foster personal success and connections for others.

Communicates Effectively
Conveys ideas and information in a way that is clear, engaging, and suitable to the audience. Listens and responds appropriately.

Decision Quality
Makes decisions and solves problems, can deal adeptly with varied levels of complexity, ambiguity, and risk; takes responsibility and accepts ownership for decisions regardless of outcome. Responds promptly and appropriately in crises.

Organizing and Planning
Establishes courses of action for self, can influence others to ensure that work is efficient, in consideration of restraints on time and resources.

Holds self and others accountable for achieving intended outcomes; follows up and monitors progress to ensure that things stay on track; models organizational values.
Selection Process & Supplemental Information
Interested individuals who meet the minimum qualification for this position must apply online. Your application should include job experience, major responsibilities and accomplishments related to this position. Applicants who meet the minimum qualifications will have their applications materials scored. Candidates who obtain a passing score will be ranked on the eligible list for interview and hiring consideration.

This position is covered by a Labor Agreement between the Tacoma Public Library and Local 117. Individuals given a conditional offer of employment must also pass a background check. New employees must successfully complete a six-month probationary period prior to obtaining permanent status in this classification.

Tacoma Public Library Stands Against Racism and White Supremacy
Tacoma Public Library is opposed to white supremacy in all of its forms and is committed to fostering an organization that is actively anti-racist. We believe that Black Lives Matter. We are grieving with our black community and all communities of color who continue to be harmed by institutionalized racism. We are committed to being a trusted community resource available to all and will provide resources and public programs that seek to reflect the values of anti-racism and elevate the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

Tacoma Public Library
Tacoma Public Library (TPL) has been an essential provider of free books, information, ideas, and education for more than 125 years. TPL's neighborhood libraries originated with Andrew Carnegie's visionary philanthropy at the turn of the 20th century and are being transformed into true centers of educational innovation and service--and vital community hubs--that continue to provide far more than free books and materials.

Learn more about the Tacoma Public Library and the services we provide at and connect with us on Facebook , Instagram , Twitter , and LinkedIn to stay up to date on exciting things happening at the library, and to be notified of other career opportunities with us.

Communication from the City of Tacoma:
We primarily communicate via email during the application process. Emails from and/or must be placed on your safe domain list to ensure that you receive notifications in a timely manner. As a precaution, you may also want to check your junk email folders.

The online application system requires you to enter a substantial amount of information. Be prepared to spend at least an hour entering information. In order for your application materials to be considered, all information must be submitted by the closing date and time listed on this job announcement.

For assistance with the NEOGOV application process, or questions regarding this job announcement, call the Human Resources office at (253) 591.5400 before 4:00 p.m. of the closing date of the job announcement.

Insurance Plans: You may participate in one of several group health insurance programs. Employees and their dependents are covered by a medical-surgical-hospital plan, vision plan, dental plan, and employees are covered by a long-term disability plan. Short-term and expanded long-term disability insurance and Deferred Compensation options are also available.
Employees are covered by the State Industrial Insurance Act.

Paid leave: Library Employees are entitled to receive paid holidays, and Personal Time Off (PTO).

Retirement: All employees of the Library except part-time Pages, temporary employees, and certain project employees, are included in the City of Tacoma Employees' Retirement System. Information on the Tacoma Employees' Retirement System can be found at or by calling (253) 502-8200. All members of the Tacoma Employees' Retirement System are also covered by Social Security.

The Tacoma Public Library is not a department of the City of Tacoma and the Library's employees are not employees of the City. The Library is a separate entity with its own governing body. The Library's governing body is the Tacoma Public Library Board of Trustees.

Employees of the City of Tacoma who accept employment with the Tacoma Public Library will lose their City of Tacoma employee seniority. They will also find that their leave accruals, and some of the benefits enjoyed as employees of the City of Tacoma do not carry over when they are hired for a position with the Tacoma Public Library.

Closing Date/Time: 9/29/2023 5:00 PM Pacific

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