The Footpath Library (TFL) chairperson, Barbara McKellar facilitated a wonderful think tank with several local libraries on February 6.
Attended by reps from Waverley Library, Newcastle Library, State Library of NSW, and City of Sydney Libraries the group discussed the challenges and perspectives in working with homeless people. The session was also aimed at uncovering ways in which libraries can work toward creating an environment where homeless people feel welcome and can more easily access library services.
“Literacy is a vital part of assisting homeless people get back on their feet and we are really pleased to be part of this great initiative.” said TFL’s founder Sarah Garnett. “We know from our own clients that getting access to computers, reading material, and a sense of community even, can be difficult. Libraries are in an excellent position to provide this but there is often red tape in joining or the stigma of being a homeless person which keeps our clients away”, she said. “We are noticing an amazing shift and interest by libraries to find ways to better support the disadvantaged in our community.”
Thanks to Heather Davis, who initiated this project after research into homelessness and libraries on a grant-funded trip to the USA, and Waverley Library who hosted the event.