Public libraries strive to meet the needs of their communities and maintain a safe space to people of all walks of life. As a result, libraries across the state are developing services, policies, and procedures to ensure individuals, families and unaccompanied youth who are experiencing homelessness in their communities have access the information and services they need to stay connected and safe.
Earlier this year, the Public Libraries Podcast recorded a session with John Spears, Director of the Pikes Peak Public Library about challenges and opportunities in serving homeless patrons at the public library, educating the public, tensions in the community, efforts to expand initiatives, and more.
What programs and services do you offer in your library to meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness in your community? We would love to hear about it. What challenges have you faced, what successes have you had?
We have many superstars in Colorado libraries – creating great programming and providing outstanding services for their patrons and their communities. The Denver Public Library has created a team to specifically work with the more troubled individuals within these communities, and have a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Community Resource Manager on staff to guide their programming and services for the homeless population that come through their doors. The Public Libraries Podcast talks with Elissa Hardy about the emerging trend of employing social workers in public libraries, serving persons experiencing homelessness at the library, making the library and inclusive space, training library staff, and related issues.
We don’t all have the resources to be able to hire staff specifically for this purpose, but we can help train staff members to work more effectively with people experiencing homelessness. Do you have tips to share with others regarding your work with this section of your patron population? We would love to hear about it.