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Library services for homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers.
While anecdotal evidence indicates that many homeless people use public libraries we took a proactive approach to ensure that homeless people, particularly those living in hostels, hubs and hotels, are made welcome in our libraries.
I worked with the Dublin Region Homeless Executive to identify hubs and hostels and make contact with Case Workers/ Development managers to connect with these hard to reach people. I also contacted refugee and integration centres in the city to include them in the project. The idea was to relax membership rules and create linkages between the hubs and a particular local branch library, thereby providing a sort of ‘personal’ service to individuals who may not have been previously familiar with libraries or who may perceive them as institutions that may fail them. The singular aim of the project was to ensure that homeless people and asylum seekers would enjoy the same entitlement and quality library service that we deliver to everyone equally.
The project commenced in September 2018 and is ongoing and has some successes but it is not without difficulties. During the course of the presentation I would like to extrapolate my learning from the project and share my experience and of course learn from other services that may have addressed this issue.