How the library helps the homeless

Published: Aug. 21, 2017 at 12:16 PM EDT
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“Over the years we’ve changed from a place that we house books, to a place where we offer citizens refuge.”

Many of citizens are homeless people.

“It’s a worldwide need that libraries are meeting for citizens that are homeless or houseless, and so Liberians do spend a lot of time talking about how best to meet the needs of that population.”

Sonja Eyler is the Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Public library director. She and her staff work closely with homeless services of Aroostook.

“Their residents often will seek refuge here either behind a computer or meeting friends, it’s a gathering space for the residents, also an office space for the resident. We have to work pretty closely to make sure we’re meeting their needs.”

As technology has evolved over time so has the library. What was once just a spot to get a good book has now turned into a multipurpose public place.

“We truly strive to provide something for every citizen in the community whether you’re a reader or a user of technology or simply looking for a place to stay during our open hours.”

The library often acts as a day shelter to those in need. It’s been a stepping stone for success for those looking to better their lives.

“Much job seeking, much apartment or housing seeking, then there’s the recreational aspect, there’s the reading, the game playing, the socializing, all of that super important cultural center stuff that we do. Those are the things people come to us for.”

Eyler says she and her staff work closely with other organizations in the community to help the homeless. She says she’s glad to be able to serve a wide range of those in the community with whatever resources they can.