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Effective public library outreach to homeless people

Willett, P. and Broadley, R. (2011) Effective public library outreach to homeless people. Library Review, 60 (8). pp. 658-670. ISSN 0024-2535


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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.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2011 Emerald. This is an author produced version of a paper subsequently published in Library Review. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: Homeless people, Inclusion, Outreach, Public libraries, United Kingdom
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Information School (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Miss Anthea Tucker
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2012 09:55
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 17:39
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00242531111166692
Status: Published
Publisher: Emerald
Identification Number: 10.1108/00242531111166692
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/74400

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