Tag Archives: Homeless

What happens when libraries are asked to help the homeless find shelter

“In 2008, the San Francisco Public Library considered a very unusual question. How, they asked the city’s homeless, can our library better serve you?  Officials weren’t looking for book club ideas. Over the past decade, the shrinking social safety net has turned many libraries into major care providers for the underprivileged. The homeless, in particular, rely on libraries for daytime shelter. It’s a big job, one that libraries — perpetually cash-strapped and understaffed — aren’t sure they’re equipped to handle. (via The Washington Post)

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INSIDE THE DENVER PUBLIC LIBRARY’S SUNRISE CONCERT FOR THE HOMELESS

“Every morning, a crowd gathers outside the Central Branch of the Denver Public Library. A few dozen people — many of them homeless — wait for the doors to open, when they can go inside to use the library’s computers and other services. On Tuesday, September 8, they had something to do besides stand around: That day, the library hosted a pop-up “Sunrise Concert” from 9 to 10 a.m. outside the main entrance. Videographer Kevin J. Beaty was there to capture the moment and lend some additional context — you can see his work above.” (via Westword)

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With no fixed address, two men start Toronto’s only underpass library

“Al is an avid reader. He estimates he reads a different book every two days. He reads so much, people give him new books all the time. Al had so many books, he and a friend decided to start their own library. Only Al has no fixed address. He lives on the street, and so his upstart library is also on the street. Toronto’s new library is under a small bridge on Lower Simcoe Street in Toronto.” (via CBC)

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Portraits of homeless people using libraries

“Libraries, “the last bastion of democracy,” are a haven for America’s 500,000 homeless people, where literature, Internet access, and nonfiction can come together to provide respite from the relentless brutality of life on the streets. In a series of moving portraits of homeless people using San Francisco, Sacramento and San Jose’s public libraries, Fritz Hoffmann tells a visual story of forgotten people in quiet reflection and study, and makes us remember something we’d prefer to forget. The librarians in the story see their role as defending democratic access to information and ideas and public space — in San Francisco, the library system now has a full-time social worker.” (via Boing Boing)

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No-sleeping rule at public libraries unwelcome change for Edmonton’s homeless

“Darren Richards describes the Stanley A. Milner Library as a quiet, safe haven. Richards has been homeless for four years and uses the downtown library daily, as a place to read, charge his cellphone and nap. That will change May 1, when the Edmonton Public Library implements a no-sleeping policy at all its branches. Louise Reimer, director of branch services, said the rule is necessary because the central library has become a “de-facto day shelter.” (via Edmonton Journal)

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HOMELESS PEOPLE NEED LIBRARIES, AND LIBRARIES NEED THEM, TOO

“Jeffery Bailey spends nearly every day at his public library. It’s not just that he loves books. For the 43-year-old who sleeps in a tent outside a local church, the library is pretty much the only place he can go that won’t charge him to provide safety, warmth, useful services and entertainment. Many public libraries discourage homeless people from hanging around all day. “It could be the way you dress, the way your hair is,” says Bailey, whose scruffy denim jacket could use a good wash.” (via The Associated Press)

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From nurses to social workers, see how public libraries are serving the homeless

“Almost every morning at the Denver Public Library’s main branch, a group gathers on the fourth floor at the doors of the Community Technology Center, home to the library’s public access computers. Many of them are homeless or underemployed. But the DPL, like a lot of city libraries, is a safe haven during the day, especially during winter months. Public Libraries have long grappled with how to deal with and assist homeless patrons who bring a unique set of needs and challengers to librarians. Courtney Young, President of the American Library Association, says that in times of economic hardship, more people turn to and depend on libraries and librarians for help.” (via PBS)

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Homeless Outreach in Volumes: Books by Bike for ‘Outside’ People in Oregon

“A homeless man named Daniel was engrossed in a Barbara Kingsolver novel when his backpack was stolen recently, and Laura Moulton was determined to set things to right. Ms. Moulton, 44, an artist, writer and adjunct professor of creative nonfiction, did not know Daniel’s last name, his exact age, or really even how to find him — they had met only once. But she knew the novel, “Prodigal Summer,” and that was a start. So, armed with a new copy of the book, off she went. Such is the life of a street librarian.” (via NYTimes)

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D.C. adds a social worker to library system to work with homeless patrons

“Among the many roles for which public libraries are appreciated, there’s one that can be problematic: de facto day shelter for homeless people. Downtown’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library attracts many such patrons, and Jean Badalamenti understands why. “The city drops folks from three shelters off here every morning and picks them up in the evening. So they come here because of that,” said Badalamenti, a social worker who in May became the D.C. Public Library’s first health and human services coordinator.” (via The Washington Post)

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Hawaii libraries struggle with homeless problem

“It’s a sight that’s becoming all too familiar — homeless people sleeping in Hawaii State Library with their belongings around them. The library’s director, Diane Eddy, says she’s received several complaints. “It seems to me the general public is increasingly disturbed and upset about the numbers of homeless… throughout the community and in the library,” Eddy said.” (via KHON2)

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