For many years the primary publications in the practice-oriented profession of social work were produced by agencies in the field. Columbia's Social Work Library is one of the few institutions that made a systematic effort to collect and organize this information generally regarded as ephemera. The resulting body of material, the Social Agency Collection, has proven an invaluable resource to social work/social welfare historians and to social scientists in general. Though it remains part of the Social Work collection, the Agency Collection is currently housed in Lehman Library at 420 West 118th Street.
This semi-cataloged, partially processed collection (circa 1934-1980) spans a broad range of subjects including social work, social service, families and children, day care, aging, health and mental health, alcoholism and drug addiction, and social and physical rehabilitation. The majority of the material was produced in the form of general and annual reports, conference and workshop proceedings, position papers and training and case documents. We are currently processing the collection, if you would like to learn about the materials in the collection please get in touch with the Social Work Librarian.
At this time, researches must use a print catalog in-person to find resources by agencies. The Dictionary Catalog of the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Library of Social Work, Columbia University, New York (call number Z7164.C4 C5), is a published catalog of the collection which is available in the Reference Collections at Lehman Library and the Social Work Library. An estimated 25-30% of the collection is in brittle condition.