What would you do? Lawrence is working the evening shift and notices a man looking at the clock. It is winter and the man has no coat. Lawrence finds something to do in the area and casually mentions to the man that we are closing in 20 minutes. The patron indicates he knows and that it’s going to be a cold walk to the shelter as his coat was stolen that afternoon. Lawrence doesn’t have another coat to lend to the patron (his first instinct) and then offers to drive the patron to the shelter.
Project Background London Public Library’s Strategic Plan…Imagine! 2005 – 2008: “establish social inclusion as a policy priority within London Public Library” Funding, Strategic Development through Ministry of Culture Project Team: Serving Socially Vulnerable Populations Socially vulnerable populations: defined as those peoples or groups who are socially isolated or excluded from society
WHY DO YOU USE/NOT USE THE LIBRARY? Focus Groups & Interviews
BARRIERS AND POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS We’re listening…
What would you do? Lorraine is working on the desk and is asked by a person who is not very well dressed if he can borrow an envelope. She gives him one and is informed by other staff that we don’t give out supplies, since if we give it to one, we have to give it to all.
What Barriers Exist for Vulnerable Populations? Inability to Pay Fines Read Away Your Fines Hold amnesty days/weeks Individual repayment plans based on an individual’s situation Have fines geared to income – no income, no fines Allow individuals to volunteer at the Library so that they can “work” off their fines
Permanent Address and/or ID Requirement Do not require I.D. or give people an alternative to providing an I.D. Give each person a code or PIN instead of a card Getting ID ripped off: allow individuals to keep their cards at Library
Attitudes and Behaviour of Library Staff Have a few staff whose primary role is to serve vulnerable populations Have a social worker become part of the staff complement in order to provide accurate and enhanced referral Get the right staff in the right places
What would you do? Jeannie often waits at the street entrance outside the Library for a ride after work. While waiting, she was asked by a passerby for a handout. She gave the man a loonie and he moved on. The next day, the man came into the Library and settled into a chair in her area. Jeannie was reluctant to go over to that area as she might be solicited again for money (even though the patron didn’t seem to be asking anyone for anything while in the Library).
London Reads "I find these [book] talks invaluable, in that they offer us the opportunity to understand "life" in a different way than we might otherwise have done."