“On any given night in 2014, over half a million people in the United States found themselves without a home. While the majority of these people (69 percent) secured shelter for the night, many do not provide daytime accommodations for their patrons. This leaves many in search of daytime activity and protection from the elements. Unfortunately, many homeless are also living with debilitating mental illnesses. The intimate relationship between homelessness and mental illness is well-established. Almost all psychiatric conditions are over-represented in homeless populations.” (via Washington Post)
“We hope you’re sitting down for this. It turns out battles between city officials and homeless advocates over the rights of transients can sometimes be resolved with — drumroll please — compromise, compassion and common sense. Wait, what? We told you about a year ago that the Library Commission, at the urging of Mayor Ed Lee, was set to adopt a stronger Patron Code of Conduct with firmer penalties for breaking the rules. The Main Library has long had a problem with transients using it for napping, drug dealing, exposing themselves and taking baths in the restroom sinks. Believe it or not, past incidents have included a man answering the call of nature on books and another smashing a computer with a hammer.” (via SFGate)
“George Brown, a homeless man in Washington, has a simple answer when asked how often he uses a public library. “Always. I have nowhere else to go,” Brown, 65, said outside the U.S. capital’s modernist central library after a morning reading sociology books. “When it’s hot, you come here to stay out of the heat. When it’s cold, you come here to stay out of the cold.” Brown is among the hundreds of thousands of homeless people who have put the almost 9,000 U.S. public libraries, the most of any country in the world, in the forefront of the battle against homelessness.” (via Reuters)
“Just when you think there couldn’t possibly be another battle over the behavior of homeless people in San Francisco, along comes a new brouhaha among the stacks at the city’s Main Library. The Civic Center building has long been a bastion for transients, some of whom have forgone good old-fashioned reading for bathing in the bathroom sinks, dealing drugs and exposing themselves. Recent notable incidents include a man urinating on books and another breaking a computer with a hammer.” (via SFGate)
Express Times – “The Bethlehem Area Public Library is a place to take your kids to story hour, pick up your favorite book or search for jobs on the Internet. As of last month, it’s not a place to sleep, bathe or panhandle. The library revised its acceptable patron behavior policy to deal with the significant influx of homeless people who were spending their days at the library, Executive Director Janet Fricker said. While most of the 26 behavior rules are general — such as no eating, smoking or talking on cell phones — others seem to be directly targeted at the homeless, including rules that prohibit bringing in sleeping bags or having offensive bodily hygiene.