Hired to help: St. Paul Public Library social worker assists patrons in need

Even though she has more work than any one person can realistically handle, Ruby Rivera would be the first to say that she loves her job.

As the St. Paul Public Library’s (SPPL) first social worker hired to assist families struggling with a range of concerns, Rivera gets to combine her passion for libraries with her desire to roll up her sleeves and help people navigate life’s toughest moments.

A little over a year ago, SPPL announced plans to hire a social worker to support patrons at four of the system’s highest-need branches (RondoSun RayArlington Hills and Rice Street). When she saw the job posting, Rivera was beyond thrilled.

“My first job was working as a page for the New York Public Library,” she said. “I love public libraries. When I heard about this position I thought, ‘This sounds amazing, almost too good to be true.’ It was something I knew I really wanted to do.”