Supporting Your Community in the Substance Abuse Crisis

The opioid epidemic, and other behavioral health issues such as alcohol and drug abuse, directly impact every community across the nation—and, by extension, libraries’ daily work. Because libraries are not only trusted guardians of information but also vital community centers, people struggling with addictive behaviors as well as their family members and friends often turn to the library for help. 

Many library workers feel overwhelmed, finding themselves unprepared for serving these patrons in an effective and empathetic way. In this eCourse, Cindy Grove, a frontline librarian with direct experience with this issue, will show library staff how they can turn their fears and uncertainty into strengths and empowerment, offering to-the-point guidance on welcoming people with substance use disorders and their loved ones through policy, materials, outreach, collaboration, programs, and services.

By participating in this course, students will learn:

  • The fundamental facts about addiction, its signs, symptoms, and trends. They will learn how to identify people with substance use disorders and their needs from the library.
  • How to positively engage with their community to learn from and teach about the substance use crisis in their community/college. 
  • Services a library can provide people with substance use disorders and their supporters. 
  • How to keep the library and staff as safe as possible while dealing with inappropriate behaviors.
  • How to create long-lasting collaborations with outside organizations and/or other departments within the community or college.

Cindy Grove is the director of a public library in New England. She has worked in libraries for over sixteen years and also has five years’ experience working with various social service agencies. Throughout her life she has worked with people with substance use disorders and their loved ones. She has also appeared as a panelist on several webinars that focus on substance use disorders and mental health.

If you have questions or requests regarding accessibility, contact us at or at 312-280-5100.