May 26, 2022

Colorado: “How Denver Public Library Balances Books and Being A Homeless Shelter”

From Colorado Public Radio:

A visit to the library likely means checking out a book or movie. But the Denver Public Library says its central location has another job these days — it’s somewhat of a homeless shelter.

“That is a role that we have not asked to play, but are playing,” says Michelle Jeske, the city librarian for Denver.


Two years ago, the Denver library didn’t have a social worker on staff. Before [Elissa] Hardy [one of two social workers], she says that the Denver Library was doing the best it could. Now it’s becoming a lot more common position for libraries.


Mary Stansbury, the head of the Library and Information Science Program at the University of Denver, says a social worker role is a natural fit for a library setting.

“Public libraries have for decades have been essential organizations, not just for homeless people but also as a conduit for connecting the agencies in whatever community that library might be in, that serve the homeless,” Stansbury says.

Read the Complete Article (approx. 930 words)

See Also: Dallas Library Embraces Role As Haven For The Homeless (February 8, 2017)

See Also: California: Award-Winning Public Library Copes with Santa Ana’s Growing Homeless Population (September 23, 2016)

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.