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Social Services in Public Libraries
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Social Services in Public Libraries panel​​ ​
Regional Conference.
July 30, 2020

The library is a critical kind of social infrastructure that can create a sense of belonging to the most vulnerable populations, who most desperately need resources and supports. With this in mind, exploring creative collaborations within our communities becomes a prominent action worth exploring to develop solutions to our communities' current challenges. In the fall of 2018, SEFLIN's partnership with FIU's School of Social Work began when Shimon D. Cohen, MSW, LCSW Clinical Instructor/BSSW Field Coordinator answered the email looking into a possible partnership to place social work interns into public libraries and our journey began. This panel will discuss the process and history of bringing a social work internship unit into the MDPLS Library System. Discussing opportunities, challenges, assessment, developing a strategic plan, managing the collaboration between SEFLIN, FIU, and MDPLS, developing an Information and Referral Resource Guide and the importance of resilience, creativity, and outside the box thinking while navigating daily challenges during an international pandemic. 

Melanie Lorraine Zaskey is the Director of Member Services for Resource Sharing at SEFLIN (Southeast Florida Library Information Network). Melanie has a bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation from OSU and a MLIS from USF and considers herself a dabbling multi-media artist with a passion for creative program development by incorporating 21st century technology and academic research.  At SEFLIN Ms. Zaskey spearheads a standing committee of academic, public, and special librarians in developing the SEFLIN Annual Virtual Conference which focuses on technology, innovation and transformative librarianship..  Melanie works toward improving services in our communities by leading collaboration between various social service agencies and academic institutions to begin the program of placing Social Work Interns into libraries.  In her spare time Melanie can be found walking, biking or yogaing along the beaches of South Florida with her daughters, learning from her ingenious husband about music and moviemaking or tromping through the woods exploring the mysteries and wonders of nature.
Christina Farah, is a MSW who works with librarians, library staff, and library patrons to empower libraries and the communities they serve. Cristina believes in the power of the library as a hub for individuals and the local communities they serve. Cristina is a deep believer in Restorative Justice practices, Individual, Group and Expressive Therapies. Cristina has worked with many populations including underserved youth, those experiencing homelessness, returning citizens and substance users. Cristina infuses her work with artistic and creative modalities as well as administrative capabilities. Christina is trained in trauma informed service and holds a master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Barry University and a Bachelor of Fine Art from Florida International University.
Shana Hinze is the Branch Manager for the Main Library of the Miami-Dade Public Library System. With more than 16 years of experience in libraries, both public and academic, Ms. Hinze is fortunate to have worked with some extremely innovative staff and library systems. She is a strong believer in the power of creativity and the concept of ever- evolving libraries in order to remain an important driving force in communities.
Daniel M. Day is a BSSW Intern from FIU with a passion for caring and helping others. He is the youngest of seven siblings, and the only child of his parent's children to be born in the U.S. Daniel Day is a descendant from Haiti. His favorite hobbies include listening to music, traveling, writing poetry, as well as spending time with loved ones. He is currently interning at the Miami Dade Public Library System.
Daniel Saunders is passionate about creating change on the macro level through the process of creative positive disruption, that combats the status quo and increases amicable collaboration among diverse populations. He is a BSSW student at FIU and currently interning at the Miami Dade Public Library.
Jennifer Abeloff began her social work career working in the child welfare arena in Missouri and California, providing services to children in the foster care system in homes and residential facilities. She then became the director of intake and assessment at a psychiatric hospital and, later, the coordinator of an early periodic screening, diagnosis and treatment program in Philadelphia.Abeloff continued to pursue her education, completing a Master of Science in criminology at Florida State University, primarily researching issues of juvenile justice and penology. She then joined Florida International University as a visiting instructor/assistant field coordinator. Subsequently, she has served as the Field Coordinator for the School. Currently, Abeloff is the Associate Director and Undergraduate Program Director, overseeing the BSSW program and the Office of Field Education. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor as well.


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