To date, Chicago Public Library (CPL) is the largest library system in the country to go fine-free. Starting October 1, CPL will eliminate overdue fines on all CPL-owned items currently in circulation, which it said will remove barriers to basic library access, especially for youth and low-income patrons.
“We’re moving away from a punishment model to a more positive model,” said Carla Powers, Duluth Public Library manager. “The public library is not only for people who can always remember to return things. It’s not only for people who have the capacity to pay an overdue fine.”
Sandy Berman is a retired librarian who started the “Committee for the Abolition of Library Fines.” He said he feels locking out a child from libraries due to an overdue book is contradictory to the mission of libraries.
August 12–13, 2019
Charleston County Public Library
October 28–29, 2019
Chicago Public Library
“Libraries across the country are making stronger commitments to equitable library services for all. Librarians, library administrators, library staff, and other stakeholders are encouraged to join us to grow the collective capacity and connections we will need to do this work.
During this one-and-a-half day symposium we will explore how power and privilege operate interpersonally and institutionally; identify how oppression shows up in our communities and libraries; and learn about historical and contemporary social justice movements. Participants will hear from libraries putting equity into practice, develop regional connections, and create local action plans to advance equity and social justice in our organizations and communities.
Day one will focus on building shared language, self-awareness and historical understanding. Day two will give us the chance to learn about successful racial equity initiatives and develop action plans to catalyze or strengthen equity work in our organizations and communities.”
“The Pikes Peak Library District said adding a social worker to its staff helps fill a gap that traditional library personnel weren’t prepared to meet, furthering its mission to connect people with resources, whatever those may be.”
“Residents who previously experienced obstacles in obtaining access to Berkeley Public Library resources and items will no longer face this issue with the implementation of a new Easy Access Card, which allows those without a permanent address to use and check out library resources.”
“‘Our intention is to provide opportunities for dialogue and getting to know people on a different level,’ said Derek Wolfgram, Redwood City library director. ‘It’s really an invitation for people to get to know their fellow community members. … It’s easy to demean someone when you don’t know anyone like them.’
The experiment, The Human Library, was developed in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2000, as an outgrowth of a youth organization called Stop the Violence. Stop the Violence was founded by a group of Copenhagen teens to raise awareness about a rise in violence against immigrants, particularly teens, after one of their peers was stabbed to death in 1993.
Wolfgram said the library decided to make the Human Library part of its ongoing Community Conversations series to celebrate Redwood City’s diversity and the aspiration of the city to be a welcoming and inclusive place.”
“Ford’s interactive display allows library visitors, many of them homeless, to express themselves anonymously. Panels hanging from the ceiling ask visitors ‘What do you need? What can you give?’ Paper, pens, and a drop box allow visitors to answer. Ford periodically empties the box and pins the responses on the five panels in the display.
She’s been surprised by what people have said. The vast majority didn’t ask for money or housing or food — they asked for empathy.”
“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.”
“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.”