“‘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.”
“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.”
“We truly strive to provide something for every citizen in the community whether you’re a reader or a user of technology or simply looking for a place to stay during our open hours,” says Sonja Eyler, Director of the Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Public Library.
“This is simply the library doing what the library does — providing learning opportunities and resources for the whole community,” said Vailey Oehlke, Director of Libraries, in a news release. “It just so happens that this is a once in a generation event, right in our backyard, so it’s been a fun and rather unique chance to share in the experience.”
“It’s like if you don’t go into an area that’s poor, you don’t understand or appreciate the area that’s poor,” City Councilman John Garland, a native Roanoker, said during the kickoff meeting at the Jackson Park Library in Southeast Roanoke.
“It’s pretty important to the Kansas City library that we’re welcoming of all our patrons, everyone who chooses to be here. It doesn’t matter if they’re housed or not. That’s not an issue. Every citizen can use the library,” said AmeriCorps worker Emily Luedtke.
“A big city library has turned around the way it deals with some of its most marginalized visitors. The Dallas Public Library has committed to not just tolerating—but welcoming—every homeless person who walks through the door.”
Boston’s new anti-poverty program is producing positive results. It’s called Family Independence Initiative, or FII, a non-profit that started in San Francisco. “What we’re trying to do, is to say, ‘For the last 60 years, there’s been a war on poverty, and things have only gotten worse,’” Jesus Gerena, head of the Boston FII office, said. “So what can we do different and what did people do prior to be able to get people out, and help them to get out?” Read more