Libraries and Homelessness: An Action Guide

Libraries Unlimited Jul. 2021. 267p. ISBN 9781440862786. pap. $55. PRO MEDIA
The two most powerful ways that libraries can address homelessness, writes former public librarian Winkelstein, are by partnering with other organizations and hearing directly from those who are most impacted. The information in this book is valuable: statistics, a history of how libraries have handled homelessness, and current trends. Finkelstein includes stories from library users and nonusers and examples of actions that libraries can take, both short-term (holding voter registration at the library) and long-term (sending bookmobiles to homeless shelters). The section on creating an action plan includes listing the library’s assets, writing a vision statement, considering potential barriers, and addressing resistance. The focus on youth and LGTBGQ+ users is particularly strong. Appendixes include an extensive glossary, a library staff survey, an example of a grant proposal, responses from social workers, and much more.
VERDICT Essential for every library’s staff collection. An excellent resource not only for libraries but also for government, social service organizations, schools, and religious congregations.
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