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Academic Libraries: Providing Shelter

Academic Libraries: A Cool Place

Warm weather is fast approaching! For those of you at libraries who have student populations which stay on/near campus during the summer months, consider reaching out to student groups and on-campus housing associations to advertise Summer and Intersession hours. I don’t know about other campuses, but our on-site dorms don’t have any air conditioning in them and many new or international students arrive on campus well before the term officially begins. Advertising the library as a place of respite from the weather could be an easy way to boost summer attendance and introduce new students to the library as a space. For more information, I wrote about libraries helping patrons ‘beat the heat’ for the blog last summer.

“The Public” and Library Services to Homeless and in-need Patrons

Movie poster for The PublicOn April 5th, Emilio Estavez’s film, ‘The Public’ had its official theatrical release –although at this time the only listing I can find is for the Bijou in Lincoln City. The film was originally screened multiple times last year, including at the June 2018 ALA meeting, and again at ALA Midwinter in Seattle this year. If you’re one of the few in the library sphere who hasn’t at least heard of the film, ‘The Public’ is a dramatic story centered around a group of homeless patrons who, in an act of civil disobedience, refuse to leave the public library at closing time during a brutal Winter storm because it is their only place of refuge. From my understanding, the film had a mostly positive reception in 2018; especially among those in the library profession. Estavez also did a PSA on the importance of libraries to modern societies and communities, which you can currently find on the ALA site.

If you’re interest in learning more about providing services to homeless, or in-need patrons, I recommend ‘The Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness’. Many academic libraries are also community-serving and it helps to be familiar with local and state resources in the immediate area. For example, Polk County has put together a Community Resource Guide which is quite comprehensive and I have used on multiple occasions to direct individual toward necessity resources such as food bank and access to clothing. Your county or city likely has one as well; we keep a physical copy on hand at the main desk and print out a new copy when we give it away.

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