California: “Should Libraries Be Part of Homeless Solutions? San Diego Thinks So”
From the San Diego Union-Tribune:
In the latest example of the expanding role modern libraries play in their communities, the San Diego Central Library will staff a social worker to help homeless patrons who make up the majority of visitors each day.
San Diego Public Library Director Misty Jones welcomes the addition of the social worker, a San Diego State University intern working on her master’s degree in social work, and she is optimistic the move will create a better environment for all library visitors.
“We need to make this a safe place for everybody,” she said, adding that incidents involving drug use and psychotic episodes are a daily occurrence at the library, and too often the solution is to escort a person off-site, sometimes with instructions not to return.
There has been a string of overdoses at the Central Library, and a homeless person died by suicide after jumping from an upper floor of the library in August 2019. The issue is not unique to San Diego, however.
“I talk with my peers in other libraries across the nation, and we’re all seeing the same thing,” Jones said. “Substance abuse and mental illnesses are very, very prevalent.”
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.