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

Dallas Library Strives To Be Haven For Homeless

“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.”

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The downtown Dallas Public Library strives to be a place of welcoming, not just tolerance, for homeless population.
COURTNEY COLLINS / KERA NEWS

Joliet Library Helps Provide Winter Supplies to Local Homeless Population

“Being in the downtown area, the Joliet Public Library is uniquely positioned to be able to partner with other organizations to provide assistance to the unsheltered here in Joliet,” said Megan Millen, Executive Director of the Joliet Public Library, in a news release. “Thanks to the generosity of the Joliet community, events like this are able to provide those winter essentials to the less fortunate residents of Will County.”

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Everybody Reads Picks Evicted

“Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” , by Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond, will be the focal point of the Multnomah County Library’s 2017 Everybody Reads community reading program. Desmond follows eight Wisconsin families who struggle to pay their rent. The book has received much critical praise – The New York Times described it as an “unignorable book,” adding, “after ‘Evicted,’ it will no longer be possible to have a serious discussion about poverty without having a serious discussion about housing.” The New Yorker excerpted it over two issues.

The library’s director, Valley Oehlke, who chose the title, called it “a very timely selection for our community.”

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