May 24, 2022

New Article: “Enlisting Public Libraries to Help Fight Homelessness”

The following article was published on the Stateline (from Pew Charitable Trusts) web site today.

From the Article:

Public libraries have long been havens for people with nowhere else to go. Now, a growing number of library systems are adding services for patrons who are homeless, hungry, or suffering from drug addiction or mental illness. For the District of Columbia, that means hiring a social worker, partnering with nonprofits and organizing social hours.


During the recession, behavioral incidents spiked in the main branch of the Salt Lake City Public Library, said Tommy Hamby, the library’s adult services coordinator. “We saw a lot of what our manager called ‘new homeless,’ ” he said: panicked people who had just lost their homes and were in crisis mode.

Public libraries have expanded services in a number of ways. San Francisco was the first to hire a social worker, in 2009. Washington and Denver have followed suit. The Dallas Public Library has used grant money to station two AmeriCorps volunteers behind a help desk — as well as answering questions, they might help proofread resumes or help with food stamp applications — and to hire someone who refers patrons to social services.

Read the Complete Article (1470 words)

See Also: Edmonton Public Library Extends Outreach Workers Project (March 30, 2014)

See Also: Tucson: “More Than Just Books: Arizona Libraries Add Public Health Nurses” (March 31, 2014)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.