September 26, 2021

California: Award-Winning Public Library Copes with Santa Ana’s Growing Homeless Population

From the LA Times:

The growing debate over homelessness in Orange County has found a crucible in a library that this year was named one of five winners of the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to libraries and museums for community service.

Libraries around the country, including in downtown Los Angeles, have long been safe spaces for transients. But Orange County’s homeless population has been increasing sharply in recent years, and the Santa Ana civic center, where the library is located, is now home to an encampment of more than 400 people that the City Council earlier this month labeled “a public health crisis.”

The situation got so severe that in August, officials closed the library for two weeks for “a reconfiguration” aimed at better dealing with the homeless population. Cubicles in upper floors were removed to reduce certain kinds of activities, and seating for adults is now concentrated on the ground floor, facing the entrance, so that library staff can better monitor what’s going on.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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