“Libraries attract a fair share of homeless and mentally ill,” said Wendy Hopkins, bureau chief for the California State Library’s Development Services Bureau. “We’re here to serve communities and many people come looking for answers to their problems.”
“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.”
“People in Portland are really good readers,” Street Books librarian Diana Rempe said during a shift behind St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. “They’re amazing readers, whether inside or outside.”
“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.”
“Humboldt County’s Library Services Director Victor Zazueta acknowledges the crucial role the branch plays, noting a steady stream of people who are homeless to the library’s computer terminals, where they use the Internet to apply for social services and jobs, or just keep up with current events.”
“The library becomes a sanctuary for many of the patrons and our program helps them to feel safe again.”
“Citing a desire to address the needs of homeless and at-risk people using the library, Library Executive Director David Seleb said the move is to create a safe and welcoming environment for all library patrons.”
Shannon Butler, the social work intern at the Carbondale Public Library, has helped to find homes for at least four individuals, said the library’s director, Diana Brawley Sussman.
”(She) has successfully placed a few people in houses simply by talking to landlords, finding a price point that works for the landlord and the person’s budget and getting … asking the landlord to waive some of the upfront fees,” Sussman said.