The downtown Denver Public Library. Licensed via Creative Commons 2.0.

(Flickr: BellaEatsBooks)

Denver Public Library is one of the first libraries in the nation to hire a full-time social worker. Elissa Hardy began as the new Community Resource Specialist in February. The goal, she says, is to "remove barriers to resources" for library patrons that need help. The position allows Hardy to approach people, initiate contact and offer to connect them to services that, in many cases, they didn't know existed. Many of her clients have nowhere to live and she has already helped place some in permanent housing.

Hardy spoke with CPR News' Nathan Heffel.