1. The number of people who are homeless is on the rise, as is library service for them. Still, many librarians and library administrators believe they cannot meet the needs of this group since homelessness is such a complex issue. It often reflects the problems of individuals themselves—hence the idea that the homeless themselves are the “problem”—but it is also attributable to a lack of affordable housing and changes in work and the economy. Nevertheless, there are innovative librarians and libraries working to serve homeless and low-income users. Their efforts fulfill the spirit of the American Library Association Policy 61, inspired by lifelong activist Sanford Berman (see “The Problem Is Poverty,” Blatant Berry). The policy spurs librarians to recognize the “urgent need to respond to the increasing number of poor children, adults, and families in America.”


    The Problem Is Not the Homeless | LJ Feature Story

    Our Executive Editor Josh Hadro mentioned this LJ story in the comments for the recent Salon story about San Francisco P.L.’s homeless services. Still pertinent!

  2. What Lee does at the San Francisco main library is help homeless and indigent patrons fill fundamental needs–food, shelter, hygiene, medical attention, substance abuse and mental health services. She’s one of five peer counselors, all formerly homeless, who work with a full-time psychiatric social worker stationed at the library to serve its many impoverished patrons. This outreach team, one of the first in the country, is no longer a novelty.


    Public libraries: The new homeless shelters - Salon.com

    I’m so heartened to read parts of this article:

    In interviews with half a dozen regular guests at the library who identified themselves as homeless, all expressed relief and gratitude for the library’s clean, well-lighted space, and the warmth of the building and its staff. “Nobody acts like I don’t belong here,” said Roger—“just Roger”—a 38-year-old regular who described himself as “sometimes homeless, sometimes not, sometimes using (drugs), sometimes not.”

    but clearly something else is wrong if these services aren’t being provided elsewhere.

  3. 1) Our jobs are not about specific departments or personalities. Our jobs are about the library, its mission, and our service to library customers. Remembering this is important; it keeps us focused on organizational goals and strategy rather than on distractions stemming from emotional reactions during a planning meeting.

    2) We need to consciously focus on emotional intelligence in library interactions. It can be tempting to concentrate on things we are most familiar with, like these common performance predictors: intelligence, education, experience, or personality. These are important, but they aren’t enough. Weaving the critical factor of emotional intelligence into our interactions at the library—whether in hiring, communicating across departments, or simple day-to-day interactions with staff and customers—is critical.

    3)We must work to develop our emotional intelligence because it will help us more accurately perceive emotions in ourselves and others. We can then use emotions to facilitate our thinking, understand emotional meanings, and assist us as we manage our own set of emotions. In other words, higher levels of emotional intelligence make us more effective at meeting our own needs and interacting with others. This makes us more credible and ultimately helps us fulfill the mission of the library.


    Develop Your Emotional Intelligence

    Yes yes and yes.

    (via thelifeguardlibrarian)

  4. To be as good as you want to be and to further your goals in providing the best service and experience as a librarian, you have to suck it up and stick to your beliefs.

    — Letters to a Young Librarian: You’re Going to Piss People Off - Kelly Jensen (via booksyarnink)