How Seattle Libraries Are Helping the Homeless

A new Seattle library service connects the homeless with resources.
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The Central Library has a social service provider on site.

It’s not surprising that people who live on the street or in temporary shelters are frequent visitors to the library. Over the past few years, the Central Library has been seeing more of these patrons, who come in with questions like “Where can I stay tonight?” That’s why today, there’s a social service provider on site at the Central Library.

Hallie Cranos has been serving as that community resource specialist since March 2016. Ninety-five percent of the questions she’s asked have to do with employment and housing. She’s asked where to get clothes or if there is a place to store belongings. As a result of her work, patrons who are homeless or in temporary housing say they feel more welcome at the library.

Cranos’ position is funded by a two-year grant from the Seattle Public Library Foundation. The program’s success makes it likely that proponents will advocate for it to be renewed, but its continuity remains uncertain.

It's just one example of how Seattle libraries are reinventing themselves and staying relevant in the digital age.

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