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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Literacy Initiative Puts Child Libraries in NYC Homeless Shelters

“Brooklyn Public Library is proud to serve the diverse needs of a diverse borough—and when families cannot reach us, we will bring our collections and programs to them,” said Nick Higgins, Director of Outreach Services for Brooklyn Public Library. “By partnering with agencies like DHS, we are able to serve the community beyond our 60 branches, ensuring that families from every walk of life can access our free, life-transforming resources.”

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