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Pioneering the Way: Richland Library’s Social Work Department celebrates 10 years of unprecedented community impact

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(Columbia, SC)– Richland Library is proud to commemorate the 10th anniversary of its groundbreaking Social Work Department, which has been instrumental in transforming lives and empowering communities since its inception. Established in 2013, the department has consistently set the standard for social work excellence, becoming the third program of its kind nationwide and the first in the South and Southeast.

The journey began a decade ago when Lee Patterson, LMSW, was hired through a grant under the Affordable Care Act. Initially a part of Richland Library’s Community Outreach, the program evolved into the dedicated Social Work Department in 2018. Today, it stands as one of the few Social Work agencies with no criteria or parameters, offering assistance with little to no limitations, ensuring that help is accessible to all who need it. Some of the services provided by the Richland Library Social Work department include: Food (including vouchers), Housing, Legal Assistance, Medicaid, Rx Assistance, Veterans Benefits, Transportation and more.

Over the past decade, the Social Work Department has played a pivotal role in serving the community during challenging times, from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act to the devastating floods and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. By minimizing barriers and maximizing outreach efforts, the department has consistently demonstrated its commitment to serving as many people as possible. Director Patterson further emphasized the team’s dedication and camaraderie, stating, “We have the best team to work together with, and it just makes these past 10 years all the more special.”

As Richland Library’s Social Work Department celebrates this significant milestone, it looks forward to continuing its mission of making a positive impact on individuals, organizations, and communities alike. Through their unwavering dedication and innovative approach, the department remains at the forefront of social work excellence, setting an example for others to follow.

For questions, please contact Tacara Carpenter via 803-351-5616 or email

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