“A library – our doors are open to everyone. And it’s an unusual situation for someone who’s not homeless to be confronted with standing in line with someone who is homeless to check out a book. Or looking and the only seat available is next to a homeless person. That’s not a situation that most people find themselves with. And there’s a lot of discomfort in that. One of the things that I would hope is that maybe Penrose could give them an opportunity to realize that these are people just like they are. They’re definitely in a different situation in life. But they have every right to be there as well.”
John Spears, Library District’s Chief Librarian and CEO
About four years ago I attended a UBC conference on developing creative communities hosted by the British Columbia Library Association. It was during this dialogue that I learned how instrumental librarians are in helping those experiencing homelessness cope with the stresses of living on the street as well as accessing social services and completing lengthy online forms that pertain to medical care, housing, etc. It’s wonderful to see that Penrose Library in Colorado Springs is directly addressing this issue by employing social workers to actively connect with library patrons.
Read more on Libraries Add Social Workers for Homeless Patrons (2019) by Jakob Rodgers via The Gazette.
Learn more about our BC perspective and experience here at Public Libraries are Becoming the New Social Safety Net (2017) by Lisa Freeman via Policy Note.
#GoodMedicine #PenroseLibrary #BuildingCreativeCommunities