How Public Libraries Have Become Spare Homeless Shelters (Hard Times USA)

Source: Evelyn Nieves, Alternet, March 6, 2013

As social safety nets shrink, libraries are more vital than ever as safe spaces for people with nowhere else to go…. More and more, libraries are hiring social workers, nurses and other outreach workers to serve their neediest visitors, with the Sacramento, Tulsa and Salt Lake City libraries being three of the latest. (The Greensboro, N.C. library has even started serving free meals, along with talks with prominent guests, on Mondays through the winter.) More and more, libraries are also setting rules for behavior. Many are banning sleeping, lying on the floors or bathing in the bathrooms. But striking a balance between making the destitute feel welcome and the general library public feel comfortable is proving tricky. …