Richland Library Wants to Help People Understand What Being Homeless is Like

“In recognition of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, Richland Library is asking you to spend a few moments in the life of someone who can no longer afford a home.

The library offers the My Life Experience Empathy Lab, which uses virtual technology and simulation tools to see things from a new perspective.”

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Undesign the Redline

Undesign the Redline interactive exhibit

Howard County Library System (HCLS) is offering an interactive exhibit called, Undesign the Redline. “This exhibit explores the history of structural racism and classism, how these designs compounded each other from redlining maps until today, and how we can come together to undesign these systems with intentionality.”

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LA’s Homeless Get More Help in Wake of I-Team Reports on Libraries

“Some branches of the LA Public Library are also expanding their ‘Source‘ program, which holds monthly events at neighborhood branches to link the homeless with various social services, including emergency housing programs, drug and mental health treatment, and emergency relief. At Durant Library this past week, a record number of people lined up for hours to attend the Source event.

Head Librarian John Frank says his branch got an infusion of public money to expand this event, after the I-Team’s reports.

‘The reports raised awareness of the plight of the different populations in the library, and they’ve inspired some people to help us out and give us a little more money,’ said Frank. ‘It’s made a big difference.'”

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Redwood City: Library Takes Novel Approach to Breaking Stereotypes

“‘Our intention is to provide opportunities for dialogue and getting to know people on a different level,’ said Derek Wolfgram, Redwood City library director. ‘It’s really an invitation for people to get to know their fellow community members. … It’s easy to demean someone when you don’t know anyone like them.’

The experiment, The Human Library, was developed in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2000, as an outgrowth of a youth organization called Stop the Violence. Stop the Violence was founded by a group of Copenhagen teens to raise awareness about a rise in violence against immigrants, particularly teens, after one of their peers was stabbed to death in 1993.

Wolfgram said the library decided to make the Human Library part of its ongoing Community Conversations series to celebrate Redwood City’s diversity and the aspiration of the city to be a welcoming and inclusive place.”

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Art at Peoria Public Library Gives Homeless a Voice

“Ford’s interactive display allows library visitors, many of them homeless, to express themselves anonymously. Panels hanging from the ceiling ask visitors ‘What do you need? What can you give?’ Paper, pens, and a drop box allow visitors to answer. Ford periodically empties the box and pins the responses on the five panels in the display.

She’s been surprised by what people have said. The vast majority didn’t ask for money or housing or food — they asked for empathy.”

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HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s Proposal to Triple Rents for Poorest Households Would Hurt Single Mothers the Most

Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

“The proposal by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to at least triple the minimum rent that the poorest Americans pay for federally subsidized housing would put nearly 1 million children at risk of homelessness, according to an analysis of HUD data by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).”

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Homelessness Concerns Aired to City Task Force

“An employee at the main branch of the Worcester Public Library, speaking for herself and not the library, said the main branch serves as the city’s defacto day shelter for homeless people, but employees there often find themselves unequipped to help the homeless patrons. The employee, Elizabeth McKinstry, said the task force should look at staffing social workers at the library to help the homeless people who shelter there.

‘We really need someone onsite to help us do what we want to do as librarians, which is help people,’ said McKinstry.

She also added she was disappointed no one from the library was included on the task force.”

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With Homeless Increasingly Shut Out Elsewhere, Richmond Library Leans into Role as de facto Day Shelter

“But while some libraries have looked for ways to dissuade the homeless from using their facilities, leaders in Richmond have taken a different tack.

Over the past two years, they have eliminated rules that targeted people without housing by banning such items as large bags and bedrolls and begun adding services aimed at aiding the growing class of patrons. They made it easier for people without state identification to access the library’s computers, which are heavily used by homeless and low-income people for both job searches and entertainment. And, power outlets being an in-demand commodity among the homeless, this month they installed a cellphone charging station.

By April, they plan to hire a part-time social worker to work directly with homeless patrons.”

T.S. Barnwell, who said he visits the library every day, walked into Richmond’s main branch on Friday. Library staff have estimated recently that as many as 70 percent of the visitors are homeless. SHELBY LUM/TIMES-DISPATCH

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