May 26, 2022

California: San Francisco Public Library Workers May Get Training to Save Heroin Addicts’ Lives’

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

In addition to checking out and re-shelving books, San Francisco library staffers may soon be trained to give lifesaving medication to reverse overdoses among the growing number of heroin users mixing in with the homeless in and around the Main Library.

“It does save lives,” City Librarian Luis Herrera said of the plan being floated to allow his staff to administer naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan. The idea surfaced after an addict was found dead in one of the Civic Center library’s restrooms in early February.


In a Feb. 28 email to his staff, Herrera cautioned that no decision about training librarians to treat overdoses with naloxone would be made “without fully exploring the matter.”

“Furthermore,” he added, “if we determine that library staff may use it, it will be on a strictly voluntary basis.”


San Francisco’s Main Library has become a magnet for the city’s exploding homeless population. Coincidentally or not, the neighborhood has seen epidemic numbers of users of heroin and prescription painkillers — opioids such as codeine, morphine and OxyContin.

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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.