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Social Services Resource Guide for Massachusetts Librarians: How Librarians Can Support the Social Determinants of Health

Explore this resource guide to learn about ways that your library can provide responsive services to your patrons' social services needs. #librariestransform

Health and well-being are influenced by a variety of factors including one's physical health, relationships, intellect, occupation, finances, environment, sexuality, and spirituality.  Libraries of all types have the ability to provide information, resources, and programs to support and improve all these aspects of our lives.

How can librarians support the social determinants of health?

  • Keep your collections up-to-date to support the social services needs of your community.
  • Plan community awareness events such as forums on topics like homelessness, diversity, senior health, backpack/winter supply drives, and suicide prevention.
  • Host programs that support civility, cultural awareness, financial literacy, socialization, mindfulness, and the social determinants of health.
  • Create resource guides to connect patrons with local social services resources.
  • Partner with social service providers, social workers, homelessness engagement coordinators, health sciences librarians, public health staff, and health care providers.
  • Improve your deescalation and communication skills through trainings and professional reading.
  • Have "Who to Call" referral information ready to provide to patrons in-crisis.
  • Review the ALA RUSA's Health and Medical Reference Guidelines
  • Explore the Public Library Association Healthy Community Tools for Public Libraries,


Massachusetts Library System Declaration of Inclusion

The MLS Team is committed to providing services that benefit and contribute to the library profession’s core values: diversity, inclusion, equity, access to information, free expression, privacy, and social justice.