Provision by the cultural sector for homeless people

February 16, 2017

Tagged with: Homeless people

With poverty and homelessness on the rise in the UK, libraries, archives and museums perform several vital functions. They are open and available for people to use, often outside the ‘normal’ office hours; they provide free access to information which the homeless person may need to survive (such as the location of foodbanks and other resources, as Newcastle City Libraries does); they provide free access to books and other materials (often not asking for proof of address for restricted library membership for those without fixed addresses); they are places where homeless people can sit and read (and use other facilities) without constantly being ‘moved on’ as they would be in a coffee shop or shopping mall; and they provide online access, for example to job searches, benefits information, and, in some cases, to families and friends. 

In response to an enquiry in October 2016, The Network has pulled together examples of work being undertaken by libraries and archives.

Also in October 2016, The Spectator published an article about the Quaker Homeless Action mobile library, "What booksmean to rough sleepers – and the library that helps them".

In November 2016, CILIP published a blogpost which mentions work by Kingston University's "Big Read" scheme with a local homeless community organisation, the Joel Community.

Provision outside the UK