Tag Archives: Homeless

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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“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)


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)

Care enough not to excuse bad behavior by street people

“For a city that was once known as “the city that knows how,” the streets of San Francisco have become a shameful, unhealthy place. The news report of the unacceptable conditions at the San Francisco Public Library is just one example of the city’s inability to tackle the pervasive problem of street people acting badly.” (via SFGate)

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Urban Libraries Become De Facto Homeless Shelters

“San Francisco’s library system has hired a full-time social worker to help find housing and other services for the homeless men and women who’ve set up camp among the stacks.” (via NPR)

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For the homeless, taking shelter — in a book

“When I appear at the fence of the Glendale homeless shelter with my rolling suitcase, I hear cries of “It’s the book lady” or, if I’m with my daughter, “It’s the book ladies; let them in!” At that point, we are allowed to cut to the front of the line and pass through the gate without being wanded or searched. We then head for a table in the hall where we empty our suitcase and spread out our books. Since I’m on the board of the Friends of the Glendale Public Library, I collect most of the books I bring from the red-dot, super-sale bookshelf at the library. These are donated books that no one purchased at the library’s sale.” (via latimes.com)

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