Overview of First Draft of Guidelines for Library Service to People Experiencing Homelessness and A Brief Overview of Services to Youth Experiencing Homelessness Without Parents or Guardians

Source: Julie Ann Winkelstein, University of Tennessee – School of Information Sciences, Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2016, July 28, 2016

This paper provides an overview of the First Draft of the Guidelines for Library Service to People Experiencing Homelessness. It also includes a section on addressing the specific needs of youth ages 12 to 24 who are experiencing homelessness and are unaccompanied by parents or guardians. The Section for Library Services to People with Special Needs (LSN) is creating these international Guidelines for libraries that want to address the topic of homelessness in their communities. Worldwide, libraries are recognizing there are community members who are experiencing homelessness and in response, they are providing resources, creating public conduct policies and procedures related to being unstably housed, implementing staff trainings, engaging in outreach, providing in-house services and partnering with local agencies. LSN is committed to providing relevant and practical Guidelines that will be useful to libraries as they address the many barriers encountered by those in their communities who are experiencing homelessness or who are unstably housed. LSN considers this topic a question of human rights, and these Guidelines reflect that approach. The goal of these Guidelines is to respond to frequently asked questions related to this topic, to provide examples of what libraries are doing, offer concrete suggestions, and provide useful resources for further information. It is hoped library staff can incorporate information from these Guidelines and any other sources and create positive and specific steps to address homelessness in their libraries and communities. LSN will continue to work on these Guidelines, incorporating suggestions and comments as part of a worldwide reviewing process. The final Guidelines will acknowledge these contributions.