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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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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Why a New Zealand Library’s Books Kept Vanishing, Then Reappearing

“‘It was really odd and we couldn’t quite figure it out,’ Auckland Libraries manager Rachael Rivera told The Guardian. ‘We thought someone was playing with us, or it was bored kids.’ It was only in one of their regular meetings with the library’s homeless patrons that the solution revealed itself. Unable to get library cards without an address, or fearing damage to books that they checked out, many people had been tucking their books beneath couches or under shelves so that they could return to them without losing their place.”

“‘That community really values the services we offer and treats the books with a great deal of respect,’ Rivera told the British newspaper. ‘A lot of the guys that come in are extremely well-read and have some quite eccentric and highbrow literary tastes. People are homeless for so many different reasons, and being intelligent and interested in literature doesn’t preclude that.’ The library has since established a special bookshelf behind the front desk to store books for this group of about 50 homeless readers.”

Auckland Central Library
Auckland Central Library has a vast collection of books, as well as computers with free internet access. PARENTINGPATCH/CC BY-SA 3.0

Area Nonprofits, Multnomah County Library Work to Help Homeless, Those in Need Enjoy Eclipse Event

“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.”

Courtesy photo- The solar eclipse

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Empty Pockets, Broken Spirits: Poverty’s Impact Reaches Far Beyond Money

“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.

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How Denver Public Library Balances Books And Being A Homeless Shelter

Denver Public Library says its central location is somewhat of a homeless

Elissa Hardy, above, is one of two social workers at the Denver Public Library. She started the position two years ago, to better serve the homeless community at the library. Mary Stansbury, bottom left, is the head of the Library and Information Science Program at the University of Denver. Michelle Jeske, bottom right, is the city librarian for Denver. Michael Sakas/CPR News

shelter.
“That is a role that we have not asked to play, but are playing,” says Michelle Jeske, the city librarian for Denver.

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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