|Weekly News Digest
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'From Book Stacks to Psychosis and Food Stamps, Librarians Confront a New Workplace' by Rachel Scheier
Rachel Scheier writes the following for Salon:
Libraries have long been one of society’s great equalizers, offering knowledge to anyone who craves it. As public buildings, often with long hours, they also have become orderly havens for people with nowhere else to go. In recent years, amid unrelenting demand for safety-net services, libraries have been asked by community leaders to formalize that role, expanding beyond books and computers to providing on-site outreach and support for people living on the streets. In big cities and small towns, many now offer help accessing housing, food stamps, medical care, and sometimes even showers or haircuts. Librarians, in turn, have been called on to play the role of welfare workers, first responders, therapists, and security guards.
Librarians are divided about those evolving duties. Although many embrace the new role … others feel overwhelmed and unprepared for regular run-ins with aggressive or unstable patrons.
For more information, read the article.
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