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Homeless Shelter Webinar 2010


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Homeless Shelter Webinar 2010

  1. 1. Libraries & People in Need<br />Responsive Service to Homeless in Your Rural Community<br />Sonja Plummer-Morgan, MLIS and Steve Eyler, Second Life Homeless Resource <br />February 10, 2010<br />
  2. 2. What we hope to accomplish<br />Explore perceptions and attitudes about people who are homeless in our libraries.<br />Discuss some experience-based solutions to social problem of homelessness.<br />Offer question & answer time for best practices and effectiveness<br />
  3. 3. Keep Your Humanity in one hand and your Library Mission in the other. <br />
  4. 4. “A dirty little secret about America is that public libraries have become de facto daytime shelters for the nation&apos;s street people while librarians are increasingly our unofficial social workers for the homeless and mentally disturbed.”<br />America Gone Wrong: A Slashed Safety Net Turns Libraries into Homeless Shelters<br /><br />
  5. 5. Which One is Homeless? Challenge your perceptions and your assumptions.<br />
  6. 6. “Our public library should not be a refuge for some homeless people who will use its bathrooms to bathe and de-louse, who will slumber away for hours, who will play boisterous games of chess and stagger drunk around the stacks, leaving behind boozy vapors.” <br /><br />OR<br />Any person or family that, without any direct fault on his or her part, does not have suitable housing is the victim of an injustice.“~Pontifical Commission Justice and Peace<br />Both streams of thought are in your community. Librarians need to be proactive and prepared to address public opinion before they disrupt library advocacy. <br />
  7. 7. Libraries as Day Shelters<br />How many have people who are homeless in their library everyday? What are they doing? <br />Sleeping?<br />Computing?<br />Job seeking?<br />Home hunting?<br />Reading?<br />Socializing?<br />Do you know?<br />Observing what your patrons do while at your library is a good starting point. What services can you provide? <br />
  8. 8. Are policies the Answer? <br />No sleeping in the library! No leering! No checking out books if you do not have a permanent address! No loitering! No panhandling! <br />
  9. 9. <ul><li>Serving suggestion…policies are more effective if they address behavior and not human circumstances and are applied evenly. </li></ul>What if you are homeless and age 8 and you fall asleep on a shoulder? Would that be against your no sleeping policy? <br />What if the local professor falls asleep at your library, is that against your policy? <br />Ask “what if” often and with a mind to fairness. <br />
  10. 10. Second Life Homeless Shelter Library for Evidence and Anecdotal Based Information for Staff and Patrons—Education is key. <br />
  11. 11. Reach out & Collaborate<br />Know your community – what rich human resources are nearby that you can tap into and have some help problem solving? Social services, police departments, volunteers, faith-based initiatives, school districts, and other non-profits. <br />Is anyone in your list better at handling crisis, social service issues, answer discrimination or legal questions?<br />
  12. 12. Our Response <br />Installed a public phone<br />Joint training with shelter staff and keep close contact with director<br />Keep directories to various churches and social services in ready reference<br />Collaborated with employment center<br />Created virtual resources in Second Life<br />Launched extensive customer service campaign/training<br />
  13. 13. Librarians as Leaders<br />The social problem of homelessness is estimated to be rising in severity.<br />Librarians and partners have an opportunity to be part of the sollutions. <br />
  14. 14. For Further Reading<br />Aisha A. Harvey. Homeless perspectives of the public library.<br />National Alliance to End Homelessness<br /><br />Chip Ward on Homeless People and Libraries<br /><br />Rural Homelessness<br /><br />