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ERIC Number: EJ858801
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 23
ISSN: ISSN-1536-7967
Homelessness in Public Libraries
Wong, Yi Ling
Journal of Access Services, v6 n3 p396-410 2009
This paper takes a theoretical and practical approach in defining the "problem" of homelessness in libraries. The author examines three fundamental problems on homelessness. The three fundamental questions are: (a) Who are the homeless? (b) Why are they homeless? (c) What are their information needs in libraries? These questions are important in the understanding of the challenges that homeless users present to libraries. Libraries can implement proactive steps to meet their needs without compromising the needs of other users. It is possible to overcome the dilemma between serving the majority groups and extending services to special groups like the homeless. Homeless users are not problem patrons by default. They belong to one of the underserved user groups who deserve to be treated with respect. Libraries should be a safe haven and stable learning environment for all users, regardless of their social and living status. Libraries have the social responsibility to promote sensitivity among the public toward the homeless and to be proactive in providing community support to the homeless. Within the libraries, library staff should be trained to assist homeless users to cope with any obstacles in using libraries. In short, inclusion, not exclusion is the only one win-win solution to the "problem" of homelessness in libraries.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: Media Staff
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A