“We know many vulnerable and marginalized people seek refuge at the library — one of the last free public spaces in our society,” Edmonton Public Library CEO Pilar Martinez said.
“We’re helping the communities by providing opportunities to the homeless through engagement.”
“The fight to make LGBT identities more widely accepted continues, and books are a great medium with which to do that. Which is why a new project to send LGBT-focused young adult books to libraries and shelters is such a great idea. Not only can it show kids everywhere that LGBT people are just people like everyone else, but it also give LGBT teens a chance to see themselves represented in literature, and that’s something everyone deserves.
The project, called Rainbow Boxes, is currently fundraising on Indiegogo, and was started by YA authors Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta. The project aims to donate a box of 15 books with LGBTQIA characters to one community library and one homeless shelter in every state in the country (40 percent of homeless teens identify as LGBT). That’s a total of 1,500 books!”
“Public libraries provide the homeless with a way to connect, and many homeless say that browsing the stacks and reading a book there eases a weary street-level perspective of life.”
“This project is part of a team effort by the city’s Education Department and its Department of Homeless Services, and will affect 20 shelters throughout the city. Each shelter will have its own library made up of donated books and other reading materials such as magazines.”
The BiblioTec program started as a partnership with Coffee Oasis to bring science and technology classes to homeless and at-risk youth in 2013 and 2014.
“They [homeless people] just need a chance to come in and do something for a couple of hours that isn’t survival-based,” said Rebecca Forth, founder of a new program she calls “Seen and Heard.”
Courtney Young, President of the American Library Association, says that in times of economic hardship, more people turn to and depend on libraries and librarians for help.
“It’s the beautiful messiness of human interaction,” said Alison Kastner, a reader services librarian at the Multnomah library, describing the core idea of My Librarian, and the distinction between it and the coolly logical computer algorithms that comb a shopper’s tastes at sites like Amazon.
”(Libraries) are on the front line whether they want to or not,” said Jeremy Rosen, director of advocacy at the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, an advocacy group.
Homeless outreach is part of an overall 47 percent increase in library programs from 2004 to 2011, according to a June report by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.