Current Trends in Public Libraries: Applications of Trauma-Informed Care for Vulnerable Populations


Friday, April 3, 2020 | 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

NYU Kimball Hall
246 Greene Street
New York, NY 10003

NYSED Approved for 4 CE contact hours
NYLA Approved for 4 CE credits


Libraries have been evolving to incorporate social work practice into their daily services and programming. Understanding that many patrons who turn to libraries have had a previous history with trauma, libraries have been shifting to incorporate a trauma-informed framework into their practice. As a nontraditional setting, libraries have further been grappling with practical applications of care such as navigating consent. This four-hour program will aim to explain the current and growing need for integration of social work services in public library settings. The program will address the growing trend towards whole person librarianship, where patrons are addressed not only for library needs but also for life needs. Special attention will be given to patrons who are immigrants, have experience with the criminal justice system and/or are homeless. The expanding role of social work intern library services in New York City will also be highlighted.

Learning Objectives


  • Examine how trauma-informed care is incorporated into the library setting nationwide        
  • Comprehend the use of a person-centered approach in developing informed judgement
  • Recognize the role and challenges librarians, social workers, and interns may face in the library environment
  • Identify the variety of services offered in libraries for immigrants, those experiencing homelessness, and those who are incarcerated

Brief Agenda

4:45pm - 5:00pm Check-In
5:00pm - 5:15pm Welcome Remarks and Introduction  
5:15pm - 6:15pm Keynote: Trauma-Informed Libraries
6:15pm - 6:35pm
Remarks from the New York Public Library  
6:35pm - 6:50pm Break/Poster Presentation  
6:50pm - 7:40pm Panel I: Outreach to Vulnerable Populations  
7:40pm - 8:30pm Panel II: Student Experience and Challenges Faced in the Host Setting  
8:30pm - 9:00pm Closing Remarks/Q & A Session


" "

Jean Badalamenti, MSW (Keynote)

Jean Badalamenti, MSW, is DC Public Library’s Health and Human Services Assistant Manager, working in the Service Design and Engagement office. In her role with the library, Jean leads system-wide initiatives in a variety of areas.  Since 2014, Jean has been developing programs, creating partnerships, and training DCPL staff to support customers experiencing homelessness and manages a Peer Outreach Program at the library. Jean also manages DCPL’s library at the DC jail in partnership with the DC Department of Corrections. Jean is currently the co-chair of the Public Library Association Social Worker Task Force. She has a Masters’ Degree in Social Work from Howard University, and has worked in health and human services in DC for over 25 years.

" "

Elissa Hardy, LCSW (Keynote)

Elissa Hardy, LCSW is the Community Resource Manager at the Denver Public Library in Colorado. This department consists of three other social workers and six peer navigators. The team supports and builds relationships with customers experiencing life challenges and assists them in navigating community resources to achieve their goals; provides training for library staff; and engages the community in solutions in addressing social injustice. Elissa serves on the Board of Directors for the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative and is an adjunct instructor at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work, teaching courses on policy and trauma. She also co-chairs the PLA Social Work Task Force and the City of Denver’s Leadership Committee to address opioid and other substance use. 

" "

Dr. Peggy Morton, LCSW, DSW (Moderator)

Peggy Morton is a Clinical Associate Professor at NYU Silver.
Her professional interests include psychological effects of pregnancy loss, gerontology, field education, service learning, and library-based social work services. Her practice experience includes clinical work with children and adolescents, the elderly, and terminally ill patients and their families in both private and public (agency-based) settings.

Dr. Morton teaches bachelor’s- and master’s-level courses in human behavior. She has developed and taught service learning courses to the wider University undergraduate community. She has had extensive experience both as a field faculty member, field instructor, and faculty advisor in both the undergraduate and graduate social work programs, and has been a faculty affiliate to five undergraduate dorms. Currently, Dr. Morton serves as field instructor to interns placed in the NY Public Library system, a field placement that she created and continues to develop. She also served from 2013-2019 as the School’s Assistant Dean for Field Learning and Community Partnerships.

She earned her MSW and DSW from Hunter College School of Social Work (CUNY), and her BA from the University of Colorado.

" "

Dennis M. Walcott, MSW

Dennis M. Walcott is the President and CEO of Queens Public Library, one of the nation's largest public library systems with 66 locations in the most diverse urban area in the world. Dennis is a lifelong resident of Queens and has spent his entire career in public service and education.

Prior to joining the Library in 2016, he served as the state-appointed monitor of the East Ramapo School District, advising the NYS Education Department on reforms and improvements to ensure more effective and equitable service for the district’s students.  In 2014, he was named Honorary Distinguished Fellow at the University of the West Indies and he has been an adjunct professor at Fordham University's graduate program The Fordham Center for Nonprofit Leaders.  From 2011 through 2013, Dennis served as Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, where he led transformational change across the nation’s largest school system, which serves more than 1.1 million students in 1,800 schools across the five boroughs. Prior to that, Dennis was Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development. He received his bachelor’s degree and a master’s in education from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut and he received his master’s degree in social work from Fordham University.

" "

Brian Bannon, MA

Brian Bannon is The New York Public Library's first-ever Merryl and James Tisch Director. He is the chief librarian responsible for directing NYPL's 88 neighborhood branches as well as the Library's educational strategy. 

Most recently, Bannon was commissioner and chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Library, serving as chief library officer for one of the largest urban public library systems in the world. Bannon came to NYPL in 2019 with 20 years of experience in developing and implementing educational programs and leading large-scale operations that maximize benefit for all citizens and contribute to a culture of learning, reading, and community education. Before his successful tenure in Chicago, Bannon was chief information officer at the San Francisco Public Library and worked at the Seattle Public Library and for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has been recognized as an innovator throughout his career: among many other accolades, he has been named to Fast Company's "100 Most Creative People in Business" list and was named one of Chicago's top 100 innovators by Blue Sky Innovation, a publication of the Chicago Tribune. Bannon received his master's degree in library and information science from the University of Washington Information School.

" "

Velma Morton, AAS, BBA

Velma Morton is a Manager at the 125th Street Branch of the The New York Public Library. She has obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Business Management from Monroe College.  She is a Certified Action Learning Coach with the WIAL Institute of Action Learning and also a CPI Institute Certified facilitator in Conflict Resolution. Her affiliation with the New York Public Library dates back over 19 years working in several locations throughout Manhattan. She continues to support and build lasting relationships by offering a comprehensive range of services for the East Harlem residents like free video based visitation for families separated by incarceration, connecting social services to people who are experiencing homelessness, and Community Conversations where any and everyone can share in meaningful dialogue. Velma also participates in the NYPL/NYU Social Worker Internship Program for the residents of East Harlem. Her continued passion for helping and serving her community runs deep.

" "

Anita Favretto, MA

Anita Favretto, Associate Director Outreach and Adult Programming at the New York Public Library (NYPL). In this role, Anita sets strategic direction, builds community partnerships and provides support and training to programming and outreach staff across a network of 88 neighbourhood libraries in New York City.  In 2017, together with Peggy Morton, Anita developed NYU's social work intern program at NYPL which is currently in four neighborhood libraries in Manhattan. She has worked in local government and in the non-profit cultural sector on three different continents (US, UK and Australia) and has developed extensive experience working in libraries, and the arts and cultural sector.

" "

Sarah Ball, M.S. 

Sarah Ball is the Managing Librarian of The New York Public Library's Correctional Services program. The program, now in its fortieth year, operates within jails and prisons across NYC, offering library services and literacy programming to thousands of people each year. Sarah works toward access to informational, recreational and educational opportunities for criminalized and incarcerated people and their families. 

" "

Shantel Johnson, LMSW 

Shantel Johnson, LMSW is a passionate clinician in training with 5+ years working with Individuals and Families in clinical and vocational settings across the NYC five boroughs. Shantel is a previous graduate of the State University of New York at New Paltz, where she received her BA in Sociology. She is also is a Graduate of the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College where she received her Masters of Social Work in 2013. After graduation, Shantel continued to provide services to individuals with dual disorders of various ages within day treatment programs. Shantel additionally worked with individuals living with HIV/AIDS providing counseling and housing support. Being a native of New York City and of South East Queens, Shantel is now devoted to providing program coordination, counseling to her community and mentorship to new professionals entering the field of Social Work at Queens Borough Public Library. In her free time, she enjoys writing, as she hopes to one day provide inspiration to others in overcoming hardships they may experience throughout their life through her experiences

" "

Casey Burke, LMSW

Casey Burke, LMSW, is the Program Director for Breaking Ground’s Street to Home program.  In her role, she oversees a wide range of services for people experiencing homelessness in the Borough of Brooklyn.  Casey is originally from Corpus Christi, Texas, and has lived in Brooklyn since 2002. She received her Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin, and her MSW from New York University’s Silver School of Social Work in 2005.  She began working with Breaking Ground’s Street to Home program in 2007 and has been serving as Program Director since 2013. Casey’s social work practice has focused on people living with HIV and AIDS, people living with severe mental illness, and primarily on people living on the streets and in supportive housing. In her free time, Casey enjoys reading, the theatre, and craftivism.