Anne Arundel County librarians and their staff are attending trainings on how to respond in an overdose emergency.
The new job skill is being taught to public library employees across the state, including in Carroll County.
The latest session was held Wednesday afternoon at Anne Arundel County Public Library headquarters.
It wasn’t a hypothetical situation for some employees. Last month, there was an overdose situation in the parking lot of the Annapolis Regional Library.
“It was a Friday evening, and Annapolis is notorious for bad traffic on Fridays. So, it took the first responders a bit longer to get to us. It would've been great if we could've helped this individual immediately, as soon as we recognized the problem,” said Christine Feldmann, the marketing and communications manager for Anne Arundel County Public Library.
Library staff will now have that chance. On Wednesday, around 20 employees were taught how to recognize the signs of an overdose and how to administer the life-saving drug naloxone.
“Just be calm and know that you're responding on a good faith attempt and if you're a little nervous you can also have the 911 dispatcher walk you through the steps,” said Jasmine Pierce, an overdose response trainer with the Anne Arundel County Department of Health.
Librarians aren’t typically viewed as emergency responders, but in a county where there's been 674 overdoses so far this year, the trainings make sense.
“We have customers that we see on a daily basis. They become like family to us, so any way that we can help is going to be a good thing for us to do,” said Carol Cason, the western regional manager for Anne Arundel County Public Library.
The library system also provides reading materials, online information, and training sessions on opioid addiction for the community.
Because as the epidemic continues to spread, so do the efforts to keep those dealing with addiction alive one more day.
“If you're in Brooklyn Park or Deale, or anywhere in between, you know the library is a place that can have this resource available,” said Feldmann.
Their goal is to have naloxone accessible at every library branch and to have someone trained to use it.
For more information on opioid overdose response training in Anne Arundel County, click here.