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Jackson County Library Services brings on staff social worker

Jackson County Library Services recently added social worker Mehmood Madha as a resource for guests and a guide for library policy.

Posted: Apr 5, 2021 11:06 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Over the past several years, Jackson County Library Services has worked to provide a little something for everyone in the community. The latest step in that ongoing effort comes in the form of a someone instead of a something, with the addition of an on-staff social worker.

“Our frontline library staff work with vulnerable populations every day,” said Claudine Taillac, Assistant Director of Public Services at JCLS. “We take pride in our role as public servants and as trusted sources of help and information. Adding a social worker to the library setting completes the circle of the library’s role in the community as an institution people can turn to for assistance.”

JCLS recently hired Mehmood Madha, who received his master's degree in social work from the Columbia School of Social Work, specializing in advanced policy practice. According to JCLS, Madha's work will focus on how to address systemic inequity through advocacy and policy change.

But Madha's work won't be limited to policy. He'll be on hand as a resource for kids, teens, and adults who are looking for support or referral to resources — from mental health challenges to food or housing insecurity.

“Libraries represent one of the last purely democratic institutions that exist anywhere in our nation,” said Madha. “They offer a welcoming and safe environment that marginalized populations or those with limited assets can access freely. As Jackson County deals with the results of both a global pandemic and a series of destructive wildfires, our library system is asking, how can we step-up and better serve our community at a time of unprecedented need?”

Madha will be available for direct client services and referrals by appointment at 541-774-6749, or on a drop-in basis at the Medford Library from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and at the Ashland Library from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Thursdays. JCLS said that he will also be training and mentoring staff in de-escalation responses.

JCLS is celebrating National Library Week from April 4 through 10, adopting the theme "Welcome to your library" to promote the idea that libraries extend beyond the walls of a library building, and that everyone is welcome to use library services.

“One of the fundamental tenets of social work is meeting people where they are,” said Madha. “We know our libraries are in a unique position in our community, with no barriers for patrons to utilize our services. We want to create an environment where we are not penalizing, criminalizing, or stigmatizing poverty, which will allow our libraries to be truly accessible and welcoming for all.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 357526

Reported Deaths: 4284
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55810707
Washington38782324
Marion36837455
Clackamas29779309
Lane27744302
Jackson23059310
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Umatilla14492150
Linn12911131
Douglas12118243
Josephine9384196
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Polk737381
Malheur563677
Benton549431
Coos503794
Columbia382644
Jefferson376052
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Union319549
Crook291846
Wasco288841
Clatsop244328
Baker203529
Tillamook196932
Hood River192837
Morrow185023
Curry180625
Harney113927
Grant100013
Lake93912
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1523
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 4850807

Reported Deaths: 71341
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148419226540
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3673614183
San Bernardino3586775692
Orange3242885562
Sacramento1596362309
Kern1463481648
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921400
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen754347
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
Mariposa133916
Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
Alpine1050
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