“We’ve really unearthed a hub (of need at the library),” Tkachuk said. “The mainstream agencies — Boyle Street, Bissell, E4C (Edmonton City Centre Church Corporation) — they are so strapped themselves and so every day we have more and more people falling through the cracks. A lot of them are ending up in the library. And for many of them, we’re their last lifeline. We get people who have to use the library by default, out of survival. ”
“I think we’ve paved the way,” said Leah Esguerra, the SFPL’s social worker, who is in demand as a speaker at library and social worker conferences. She estimates that the library has helped more than 60 patrons find permanent housing and hundreds of others find social services.
CHICAGO – The ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS) and the ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) will host a webinar expanding on the tips and tools in “Extending our Reach: Reducing Homelessness Through Library Engagement,” the latest outreach toolkit from OLOS and SRRT. This webinar will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Central time on Thursday, March 21 and is free and open to all who are interested in transforming libraries by building meaningful library experiences for all, especially poor and homeless patrons.
This free webinar will feature Lisa Gieskes, coordinator of the ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) Hunger, Homelessness, and Poverty Task Force, and Julie Winkelstein, Ph.D., University of Tennessee – Knoxville, who will explore resources, best practices and model programs geared towards creating positive library experiences for those experiencing poverty and homelessness.
Information on accessing the webinar can be found on OLOS’ Online Learning page.
The ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) is a unit within the American Library Association. It works to make ALA more democratic and to establish progressive priorities not only for the Association, but also for the entire profession. Concern for human and economic rights was an important element in the founding of SRRT and remains an urgent concern today. SRRT believes that libraries and librarians must recognize and help solve social problems and inequities in order to carry out their mandate to work for the common good and bolster democracy. SRRT’s main website is hosted at http://libr.org/SRRT.
The mission of OLOS is to identify and promote library services that support equitable access to the knowledge and information stored in libraries. OLOS focuses attention on services that are inclusive of traditionally underserved populations and people generally discriminated against based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, language and social class. The Office ensures that training, information resources and technical assistance are available to help libraries and librarians develop effective strategies to grow programs and services for library users.
“An early goal is to see at least 10 percent of the homeless participants find jobs in the first six months.”
“Our mission is about connecting people to all sorts of information resources, many times in non-traditional ways.”
“Six Milwaukee public libraries have brought in 240 laptop computers to improve Internet access in poor neighborhoods.”
St. Paul public libraries are providing free lunches this summer. This is the first time the libraries have served free lunches. Librarians saw the need for the service after so many children were showing up hungry.
San Francisco Public Library is the first. Read more here.