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Journal cover: Library Review

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Online from: 1927

Subject Area: Library and Information Studies

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Effective public library outreach to homeless people

Document Information:
Title:Effective public library outreach to homeless people
Author(s):Peter Willett, (Information School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK), Rebecca Broadley, (Latymer Upper School, London, UK)
Citation:Peter Willett, Rebecca Broadley, (2011) "Effective public library outreach to homeless people", Library Review, Vol. 60 Iss: 8, pp.658 - 670
Keywords:Homeless people, Inclusion, Outreach, Public libraries, United Kingdom
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/00242531111166692 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify good practice in conducting outreach for homeless people, and hence to provide recommendations for future library outreach projects.

Design/methodology/approach – The authors examine of four case studies taken from the library literature, and conduct six semi-structured interviews with outreach and/or inclusion librarians from library authorities in South and West Yorkshire.

Findings – The recommendations include: developing partnerships with relevant organisations; removing proof-of-identity requirements for joining the library; disseminating the results obtained in projects; using book deposits and mobile library stops; training library staff to ensure that they are aware of relevant issues; building trust in the target audience; ensuring that outreach is tailored to the specific needs of different groups of homeless people; and using a range of methods to evaluate project effectiveness.

Originality/value – Identification of themes common to the published case studies and to the interviews provides a reasoned basis for the recommendations that are presented. These recommendations provide, for the first time in the UK, clear guidelines for future outreach projects for homeless people.

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