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Community Crisis Workers making an impact at City libraries

Wide range of support services free to access

January 18, 2019

Helping with a resume, connecting a person with an emergency shelter, and assisting someone navigate the process of applying for income assistance is all in a day’s work for Sheila Bughao.

“It can get really busy at times depending on the day or the weather,” she said, adding she wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. “Helping anyone that needs help is one of the things I love to do.”

Bughao is a Community Crisis Worker at Millennium Library. She started in September 2018 after the Winnipeg Public Library identified a need to expand the service.

She joins Bruce Fiske, who has been a Community Crisis Worker since the service launched in 2012.

Trained as a social worker, Fiske feels honoured to have this job and understands the importance of being there for someone who might be struggling.

“It’s a great feeling to see people take advance of the services we offer and benefit from them,” he said.

“If things work out and I see them on another day and they shake my hand and are doing really well, it is really a gratifying experience.”

Libraries in other cities have since followed Winnipeg’s lead in including social workers in their branches.

All the services provided are free and you don’t need an appointment to meet with the workers.

“The office door is open for everyone,” Fiske said. “Even if you don’t want to talk to me, you can come into my office and look at the pamphlets on display, you can use my phone, or I can make you a cup of coffee.”

On any given day, they can each see between five to 12 people. When they aren’t assisting someone, they will walk around the library to provide outreach.

“At first they would wonder what I’m doing, but after the conversation they really appreciated the fact they were able to talk to someone about how their day is going,” said Bughao.

Bughao and Fiske can be found on the second floor of Millennium Library.

Their services are available:

They also alternate working from St. Boniface Library every Monday from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.