Building Communities Through Libraries Panel Discussion

Join us on Saturday, June 28, 1:30-3:30 pm, at the ALA Anaheim 2008 Annual Conference in the Disneyland Hotel Dreams D room for our Building Communities Through Libraries free panel discussion.

Find out how special and academic librarians are providing information outreach services that address community needs such as healthcare, literacy and education. Special and academic librarians will talk about successful partnerships that have led to lessening the knowledge gap and reducing information impoverishment.

Speakers: John Buschman, Associate University Librarian, Georgetown University Library; Dorothy Warner, Professor-Librarian, Rider University; Nancy McKeehan, Assistant Director of Libraries for Systems, Medical University of South Carolina
Library; Eileen Abels, Master’s Program Director and Associate Professor, College of Information Science & Technology at Drexel University; Denise E. Agosto, Associate Professor, College of Information Science & Technology at Drexel University

Chair: Lisa Gieskes, Coordinator, HHPTF

No Springtime for Minnesota's Working Poor

Springtime is one of the neediest months for families of the working poor in Minnesota (and elsewhere).

What do these families need? More food at food pantries (80% of the contributions to Minnesota’s food shelves come from individuals). Food pantries keep food that often needs to be cooked, which what working poor families can use. Those people who are homeless are often directed to homeless shelters, not food pantries.

To find a food shelf or make a contribution to one in Minnesota call 651-721-8687 ext. 331 or go to Minnesota Food Share’s website.

Columbia, SC, offers the only Housing First program to have a medical school coordinate services for homeless people

The University of South Carolina School of Medicine will receive a $1.2 million grant from the City of Columbia in order to implement Housing First, a program that will place 25 homeless people into apartments and homes in the city of Columbia beginning in April.

Columbia is the first Housing First program to have a medical school coordinate services for the clients.

To find out more about the project, contact David Parker, director of Supportive Housing Services at the university’s medical school rdavidp@gw.mp.sc.edu.

Libraries serving people without permanent homes

Washington, DC’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library offers music appreciation and arts classes for homeless patrons

Jacksonville Public Library teaches Internet use to homeless job seekers

San Franciso Public Library staff refer homeless people to housing and mental health service agencies

The Free Library of Philadelphia employs homeless people at their Central Library

The Los Angeles Public Library hosts a summer camp for homeless children

New York Public Library has monthly story time sessions for homeless children

The “crime” of feeding hungry people

Feeding Intolerance: Prohibitions on Sharing Food with People Experiencing Homelessness , a recent report from The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and the National Coalition for the Homeless, reveals how local governments across the nation are prohibiting and restricting groups from sharing and distributing food to hungry and homeless people.

It is believed that common myths about homeless people fuels such food-sharing restrictions, namely:

Myth #1 Ease of access to food stamps
Reality- Over half of the homeless population receive food stamps because of lack of transportation, lack of shelter, lack of knowledge and proper documentation.

Myth #2 Food pantries and soup kitchens provide adequate amounts of food for hungry and homeless people
Reality- Many food pantries lack kitchen facilities and cannot cook food for people to eat. Many food pantries restrict the amount of food they give to people. There are not enough food pantries and soup kitchens to feed everyone who is hungry.

*Myth #3 Food programs enable homelessness
Reality- Food is not an addiction! People remain homeless due to lack of affordable housing, lack of transportation and lack of health care.