Tag Archives: Homeless

Library Offers Homeless People Mental Health Services, And It’s Working

“Of the 5,000 people who visit the San Francisco Public Library every day, about 15 percent of them are homeless, PBS reported. After years of watching this underserved demographic float through to get Internet access, a restroom and often, just refuge from the cold, the library realized it was in an auspicious position to stage effective interventions.So, in 2009, the library hired Leah Esguerra, who is believed to be the nation’s first psychiatric social worker to be employed full time at a library, SFGate reported. Since the program started, about 150 homeless people have received permanent housing, and another 800 have enrolled in social and mental health services, according to PBS.” (via Huffington Post)

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Constable: No showers yet, but suburban libraries expand social services

“The notion of your local library as a place where you go to borrow a book seems almost as antiquated as an actual hardcover book. Suburban residents use libraries as business offices, resource centers, movie providers, club headquarters, language centers, game parlors, tax consultants, social media hubs, classrooms, lecture halls, concert venues, coffee shops and sometimes simply shelter from the storms of life.” (via Daily Herald)

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Library hires employee to work with homeless, at-risk people

“A decade of serving Oak Park Township as its youth interventionist has given Robert Simmons plenty of experience working with the community’s homeless and at-risk youth.It’s that valuable experience that led the Oak Park Library to name Simmons its new manager for community resources, a position he’ll start on March 7.Citing a desire to address the needs of homeless and at-risk people using the library, Library Executive Director David Seleb said the move is to create a safe and welcoming environment for all library patrons.” (via Chicago Tribune)

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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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