Social Worker in the Library Chicago


Detailed Description

"In partnership with the Chicago Public Library (CPL), Amita Health’s Social Worker in the Library (SWIL) Chicago project embeds a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) at two library branches, Uptown and Bezazian, to improve the quality of life for individuals who are experiencing homelessness, mental illness and other complex needs in the Uptown community of Chicago. The pilot program was launched in Fall, 2018.

The SWIL program is built upon existing and new community collaborations, with nearly 40 organizations already committed to the effort, including agencies which will serve as community resources and referring partners. AMITA has also worked closely with the Chicago Department of Public Health, Healthy 2.0 office; Chicago’s 46th Ward Alderman Cappleman’s office; and local law enforcement to define the community needs. AMITA has conducted conversations with the American Library Association and other libraries across the U.S to connect with thought-partners and share best practices.

The program's goals are:

  • Identify individuals lacking a medical home and provide primary care referrals.
  • Assess individuals for behavioral health and substance abuse issues and provide referrals.
  • Identify individuals needs around social determinants of health such as housing, food insecurity, employment etc. and provide referrals.
  • Reduce staff calls to CPL security and Chicago Police Department and decrease the percent of in-library disturbances and calls for help."


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Type of Story
Level of Influence



  • Education

  • Family and social support

  • Other alcohol and drug use

  • Mental health and wellness

  • System change: Public health transformation

  • Health System Transformation Oasis

  • Effective

  • Equitable

  • Population-centered

  • Safe

  • Organization

  • Community/place

  • Neighborhood

  • Broader community

  • Adults 18+

  • Adults 18-44

  • Adults 45-64

  • Older adults 65+

  • Older adults 65-74

  • Older adults 75-85

  • Portfolio 2 (Improving social/spiritual well-being with patients or workforce)

    This portfolio supports health care organizations to consistently screen for and address the social and spiritual drivers of health and wellbeing for patients and/or employees. Social drivers encompass socioeconomic factors, such as food, housing, or transportation, for example, while spiritual drivers include factors that contribute to a sense of purpose, meaning, self-worth, hope, and resilience.

  • Portfolio 3 (Improving community health and well-being together with partners for a specific issue)

    ​​​​In this portfolio, health care organizations work together with community partners to improve specific health and wellbeing outcomes for a place-based population.

Action Areas
  • Equity

    ​​​​​​Everyone deserves to have a fair and just opportunity to be healthier. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and the lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care.

  • Data

    ​​​​​​Resources to help data collection by health care organizations in relation to population health, including cost and quality data on physical and mental health, number of ED visits, readmissions, demographics, and social determinant data supplemented by community partners. Community-level data should be stratified and used to identify and address inequities, and data should be shared across the community.

  • Social determinants screening/referrals

    ​​​​​​Resources to help implement a type of internal assessment used by healthcare organizations to consistently screen for and address the social and spiritual drivers of health and wellbeing for a defined population, with a goal of ultimately connecting patients with community resources. Social drivers of population health include socioeconomic factors such as food, housing, education, transportation, and income, and social connectedness. Spiritual drivers include all factors that contribute to a sense of purpose, meaning, self-worth, hope, and resilience.

  • Community benefit

    ​​​​​​Resources to help nonprofit hospitals obtain tax-exempt status by investing in community and population health, in range of services and activities that address the cause and impact of health-related needs.

Words to Describe