“[Libraries:] are they only a place where one goes to check out books or movies or access the internet, or are they also a place that can serve people more robustly in a very diverse way that we didn’t anticipate before?”

Carrie Draper &
Dr. Kirk Foster

Can a public library be conceptualized as a human service organization? In this episode, our guests Carrie Draper and Dr. Kirk Foster describe how they are leveraging the library’s familiarity and resources by placing social work interns and professionals in these non-traditional settings. Our guests describe the natural fit and the challenges inherent in this approach and what they are learning about how services and roles change in this creative endeavor.

Carrie Draper, MSW, is Research Associate in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior at the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina. She received her MSW from the University of South Carolina. Her current research focuses on SNAP-Ed Program Evaluation and Nutrition Support Implementation. She is Co-Chair of the Columbia Food Policy Committee. Ms. Draper teaches in the areas of social policy, welfare policy, and social work practie with organizations and communities.


Kirk A. Foster, PhD, MDiv, is Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and Associate Professor of social work at the University of South Carolina. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (AB), Eden Theological Seminary (MDiv), and the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis (MSW and PhD). His research focuses on poverty, social capital, collective action, and restorative justice approaches to bridging the divide between law enforcement and African American communities. Dr. Foster uses community-based research methods to examine how residents of urban neighborhoods mobilize resources to address the most pressing issues they face. Dr. Foster teaches in the areas of community practice, human behavior, and community-engaged research.

Interviewer: Greer Hamilton

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