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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Library outreach in SF

May 05 2010
San Fransisco‘s homeless bookworms are sorted!

In London, specialist homeless outreach has been deployed at Heathrow and on number 25 buses, after rough sleepers were found in higher numbers in and on both. However, in San Francisco, USA, it's the city's main public library that has its own outreach worker to offer help to the homeless bibliophiles.

The imposing seven-storey public library in San Francisco is in the busy centre of the city, and thousands pass through its doors every day. These include people like Bruce Sokol, a homeless carpenter, who told Voice of America News: "I use it as my home base. I use the café downstairs and I read a lot."

Indeed, so many homeless people now use this library that it now offers a new service specifically aimed at people like Sokol: a full-time outreach worker for the homeless.

Although the library is concerned about those using the building to sleep, launder clothes, take drugs or wash themselves, outreach worker Leah Esguerra takes a low-key approach. She told Voice of America News: "People come here to study. So when they're in their space and they have their books open in front of them, I feel like it's an intrusion for me to be able to talk them."

But Esguerra doesn't work alone, and four ex-rough sleepers have been hired to help by offering support to those amongst the bookshelves.