Librarians Across America Are Using Their Powers For Political Good

Celebrating National Library Week by having a postcard party to #SaveIMLS and defend libraries. #nationallibraryweek #postcards

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“The current administration’s early stances on civil liberties are troubling,” he said. “There are indications that they would support changes that could curtail free expression, whether it’s ending net neutrality or changing libel laws to make it easier to sue someone for saying unpleasant but true things about you.”

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Kansas City Public Library Embraces the Homeless

The Kansas City Public Library’s Central branch holds a Coffee and Conversation the third Wednesday of each month for homeless patrons. The patrons can get a bite, pick up some free books and learn about social services available to help them. Keith Myers kmyers@kcstar.com
“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.

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Libraries Struggle With A New Role: Social Services Center

“We don’t judge anyone as they come in,” said Hawaii State Librarian Stacey Aldrich. “That’s the beauty of a library. That’s the way it should be. We’re one of the most democratic spaces.”

The Hawaii State Public Library System is seeking $146,556 over fiscal years 2018 and 2019 to hire a manager who would be responsible for training library staff statewide and creating partnerships with social service agencies.

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The Hawaii State Library main branch in Honolulu is one of 50 public libraries in the islands.- Natanya Friedheim/Civil Beat

Project Uplift

Project Uplift, an information resource fair coordinated by the Salt Lake Main Public Library, Salt Lake City Corp. and Volunteers of America-Utah, brought direct service providers, nonprofit agencies, government offices and private sector partners under one roof as a resource for homeless people and people at risk of being homeless, said Deborah Ehrman, Deputy Director. About 300 people attended the fair, which grew out of a meeting of library, Volunteers of America and Salt Lake City’s homeless services office employees.

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UN Committee Calls for U.S. to Take Action on Laws Criminalizing Homelessness

The United Nations (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination calls upon the United States to take corrective action to address laws that effectively criminalize homelessness, which in the U.S. disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities. The statement is part of the committee’s concluding recommendations following a review of U.S. government compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Among the laws cited as discriminatory were laws that prohibit activities such as loitering, camping, begging, and lying in public spaces.

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More Than 70 Per Cent of the World Population Lacks Proper Social Protection

“The global community agreed in 1948 that social security and health care for children, working age people who face unemployment or injury and older persons are a universal human right,” said ILO Deputy Director-General Sandra Polaski. “And yet in 2014 the promise of universal social protection remains unfilled for the large majority of the world’s population.”

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War on Poverty at 50


“The data clearly show that anti-poverty policies have been effective, but they’ve had to work harder in the face of increasing economic challenges facing low-income families. We could try to push the safety net further, but the politics aren’t there, to say the least. Moreover, unless we do more to deal with the underlying structural problems in the economy that are increasing poverty — especially the lack of decently paying jobs, which I link closely to the absence of full employment — we’ll have to increasingly ratchet up government support year after year.”

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Ending Veteran Homelessness by 2015

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is committed to ending Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015 through their Homeless Veterans Outreach Initiative. The VA wants to partner with organizations and individuals in communities across the country to end and prevent homelessness among Veterans.

“The single best way to help Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless is to connect them with VA. Each VA medical center has a homeless coordinator on staff and specific programs that provide Veterans the support they need to establish or maintain safe, stable housing. VA has also established the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans (877-4AID-VET, or 877-424-3838), a toll-free hotline available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trained responders—many of them Veterans themselves—are available to provide support to Veterans and their loved ones who lack safe, secure housing. These services are also available on an online chat at va.gov/homeless.

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