“We truly strive to provide something for every citizen in the community whether you’re a reader or a user of technology or simply looking for a place to stay during our open hours,” says Sonja Eyler, Director of the Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Public Library.
“This is simply the library doing what the library does — providing learning opportunities and resources for the whole community,” said Vailey Oehlke, Director of Libraries, in a news release. “It just so happens that this is a once in a generation event, right in our backyard, so it’s been a fun and rather unique chance to share in the experience.”
“It’s like if you don’t go into an area that’s poor, you don’t understand or appreciate the area that’s poor,” City Councilman John Garland, a native Roanoker, said during the kickoff meeting at the Jackson Park Library in Southeast Roanoke.
“Libraries from California to Colorado, Pennsylvania to Missouri, are finding themselves on the front lines of a battle they never anticipated fighting.”
Denver Public Library says its central location is somewhat of a homeless
“That is a role that we have not asked to play, but are playing,” says Michelle Jeske, the city librarian for Denver.
“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.”
“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.
“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.
“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.”