Libraries across the country provide services to the homeless, but some go beyond standard outreach, throwing their doors open and welcoming those community members in. Among them are the Denver and San Francisco Public Libraries, where unique services aim to bring additional dignity and humanity to library programming for people experiencing homelessness. Both libraries have hired full-time social workers in recent years to help address the homelessness crises in their communities, and that commitment shows through in their creative partnerships and programming.
Say what you will about librarians, they keep their promises and make good on their debts. So when the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) lost a Superbowl bet with the Enoch Pratt Free Library of Baltimore, MD, SFPL Librarian Luis Herrera wasted no time keeping his end of the bargain: he recited Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” in the atrium of the SFPL Main Library wearing a Ravens jersey, and posted the results on YouTube.
“We know Luis Herrera will win this award someday because he is a fabulous leader,” wrote Catherine Bremer, the chief steward of the Librarians Guild of the Service Employees International Union, Local 1021, about the city librarian who directs the San Francisco Public Library. That support was echoed by many others, from the very recently reelected mayor of San Francisco, Edwin Lee, to members of the city’s Board of Supervisors, citizens who represent library branches, and the chiefs of other city departments. Such broad consensus made Herrera the clear choice for the 2012 LJ Librarian of the Year, selected by the editors of LJ.