Yes, you are reading that correctly. The San Francisco Public Library has added a social worker to their payroll. A recent article describes the recent addition to the staff. The main library branch has a lot of homeless patrons. The library partnered with the local public help agency to add a social worker.
The director of the library says the library is “the most democratic institute” and they want it to “be open to evevryone”.
Wow!!! How can libraries adapt and adopt such a bold move? What else can we do? How else can we partner and collaborate with? I am so proud to be a librarian.
Three cheers to you SFPL! You all are true information activists!
As some of you know, I serve on the advisory board to the Office of Literacy and Outreach Service, part of ALA. We are interested in serving underrepresented patron groups including:
Well, I came across a Backtalk in Oct 15th’s LJ titled We must all serve the disconnected. The author, an academic librarian, had an interesting take on serving homeless teens from a nearby halfway house. The article states ”
How best to reach these patrons? The easiest answer is also the most obvious one. Treat them exactly as you would your students. Greet them with hospitality. Don’t guard or watch them any more than you might your other patrons. Answer all seemingly menial requests for help promptly and with the same openness and enthusiasm you’d give to a complex research question.
This is not enough to engender real change in these young people’s lives, but creating an environment where they feel accepted and respected is a good place to start.”
Mary Kelleher is a true information activist! Great work!!!