Oak Park Public Library in Illinois built a comprehensive combined social services and public safety model over the past six years. Rob Simmons, Oak Park's Director of Social Services and Public Safety, has been instrumental in creating innovative programs including free mental health assessment and counseling services, educational support for low-income students, supportive housing advocacy, and employment assistance. Rob will share insights on what's worked best, highlighting the engagement strategies and strategic partnerships that play a crucial role in serving the library’s most vulnerable patrons.
Attendees can expect to:
Understand how a public library system can integrate a social services model into its organization
Learn best-practice engagement strategies that are effective with vulnerable patrons
Learn ways to engage community-based partnerships to help serve vulnerable patrons
Rob Simmons started his role as Director of Social Services and Public Safety at Oak Park Public Library (IL) in March 2016. Rob is one of the first social workers hired to integrate a social services model into a public library system in the United States. His innovative work has resulted in programs that provide resources such as: free mental health assessments and counseling, educational support for low-income students, supportive housing advocacy, and employment assistance. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University, and a Master’s degree in Social-Service Administration from The University of Chicago.