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A Home to the Homeless: Community Approach to Homelessness


“The American Library Association (ALA) maintains in its “Library Services to the Poor” policy statement that it’s crucial for public libraries to recognize their role in enabling poor people to participate fully in a democratic society. The library has to serve as a uniquely egalitarian place. Moreover, library staffers have a duty to look out for the needs of poor and homeless patrons and strive to provide relevant services.”

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Homeless Outreach: Books from Street Librarians


“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.

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UN Committee Calls for U.S. to Take Action on Laws Criminalizing Homelessness


The United Nations (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination calls upon the United States to take corrective action to address laws that effectively criminalize homelessness, which in the U.S. disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities. The statement is part of the committee’s concluding recommendations following a review of U.S. government compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Among the laws cited as discriminatory were laws that prohibit activities such as loitering, camping, begging, and lying in public spaces.

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D.C. Adds a Social Worker to Library System to Work with Homeless Patrons


“The city drops folks from three shelters off here every morning and picks them up in the evening. So they come here because of that,” said Badalamenti, a social worker who in May became the D.C. Public Library’s first health and human services coordinator.

“But they would come here anyway,” she continued. “The library’s a great place to spend the day for anybody. You get access to computers, you can look for jobs, you can connect with your family and friends on Facebook and e-mail, use [photo software] and do lots of creative things.”

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U.S. Libraries Become Front Line in Fight Against Homelessness


”(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.

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