“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)
“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)
“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)
“With Twitter in the neighborhood and a shopping mall in the works, San Francisco’s plan to clean-up a gritty part of mid-Market Street appears to be working, but there’s a new trouble spot emerging that’s not too far away. Police are paying special attention to the city’s main library branch near Civic Center.
When you move people from one place, they have to go someplace else. In this case, we’re talking about street people, the homeless, and those who cause trouble. The library has become a hangout for many of them and the mayor wants it stopped.” (via abc7news.com)
“Gregorio Travoli spends his nights lying in a tent in downtown Dallas and most of his days at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library on Young Street. Travoli said he has visited the library for the past 15 to 20 years. He isn’t the only homeless person to call this branch his own; many of its patrons are homeless. And the library’s staff has started to welcome them in a new way. Coffee and Conversations, a one-hour session that caters to homeless people, is the brainchild of Jo Giudice, who became the director of the Dallas Public Library system last year. Giudice’s office is at the central branch.” (via Dallas Morning News)
“Pugh is an instructor at the Tenderloin Technology Lab, an outreach organization in San Francisco that aims to help local poor and homeless people bridge the digital divide. The five-year-old operation offers free internet access six days a week as well as basic computer skills classes and workshops on blogging, photo editing, social media, and even entrepreneurship. Pugh and the Tech Lab staff help students deal with everything from everyday websites to Twitter and Facebook to newer internet tools like Etsy, TaskRabbit, Tumblr, and Weebly. The aim is to provide the city’s less fortunate with skills that can make life easier, help them connect with friends online and off, and generally boost their confidence.” (via Wired.com)
“The redeveloped Central Library in downtown Madison will be a resource for homeless people when it reopens its doors on Sept. 21, but it’s no substitute for a day shelter, says library director Greg Mickells. “The library does want to be part of the solution for that population in the downtown area, and we’ve been meeting with a variety of social service agencies,” Mickells says. “But I don’t see the library as a replacement for a day shelter.” (via The Capital Times)
Chicago Tribune – “Fall asleep in the Chicago Public Library, someone will nudge you awake. Do it again, they’ll show you the door. But drift off in Lombard’s cozy library and you can slumber in peace. “The library is a good place to at least catch up on the sleep you missed out on the night before,” said Tammy Selio as she sat in the west suburban library on a recent Tuesday, a black suitcase filled with her belongings at her side. Selio, 40, and other homeless patrons often gather there in the hours before a nearby shelter opens at 7 p.m. Sometimes their eyes grow heavy — especially as the days turn gloomy and colder and a comfortable library chair beckons.”
Ottowa Open File – “Mike Henderson wakes up every morning at the Ottawa Mission. It’s “rough and tough”, he says. But Henderson needed a shelter that allowed him to stay inside during the day.
Most days, though, he does venture out. Stuffing a battered math textbook in his backpack, he’ll head west past Parliament Hill, in the direction of another, less glamorous local landmark—the Ottawa Public Library’s downtown branch.
A concrete monolith on Metcalfe street, the aging library has fluorescent lighting, rows of books and computers, and a cramped café. It’s one of the few spots in the downtown core where passersby can spend a few hours, free of charge, and so the couches are often lined with the homeless. Some nap, others read magazines—still others wait for a computer.”
USATODAY – “Public libraries are becoming more hospitable to the homeless by hosting social-service agencies, organizing events such as book clubs and movie matinees and redesigning their facilities. Instead of trying to deter the homeless from congregating, libraries welcome them and rely on codes of conduct that address issues such as hygiene and behavior to prevent their presence from intimidating other patrons, says Audra Caplan, president of the Public Library Association. The homeless "go to libraries because they don’t have anywhere else to go, and that’s a shame," she says.”