In the library, economic woes affect more then just funding

Downturn Puts New Stresses on Libraries

“A therapist is planning to give a workshop at the library called “Finding Hope After Losing a Job,” while also offering advice to library employees who are increasingly being thrust into the role of first responder to emotionally distraught patrons who view them as confidantes.”

There’s been a lot of talk about how libraries are seeing increased numbers of patrons since the economic downturn. People are turning to the libraries for free entertainment (free books, movies, music and free events like story time, film screenings, and lectures), for job search resources (internet, computers, etc.) and for somewhere to get out of the cold. On the face of things, this isn’t any different from a year ago, but the numbers are increasing and the librarians are dealing with more stressful situations – people crying because they are desperate for help, people who can’t read or write needing help filling out job applications, fights (even stabbings), and theft of personal properties and cash. While increased police or security presence may help mitigate some issues, I don’t envy the librarians who have to deal with these sorts of stresses with increased frequency.

It’s a very interesting – and somewhat startling – article.

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