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.
Library Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 6, 2011
Keywords: United Kingdom; Homeless people; Inclusion; Outreach; Public libraries
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