Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date



I wanted you to have a narrative to accompany my presentation. My name is Kellian Clink and I have been a librarian for 34 years, 2 of them at a public library in Geneva, Illinois. I love coming to PNLA every year and try to concoct something that would be of interest to you. I am from Wyoming so I love coming West every year and will miss being with you in person this year.

Last year, everyone was talking about the homeless in their libraries so this year, I thought I would outline some of the findings from research articles in our field, after briefly noting the staggering number of counted homeless in the PNLA regions, and a brief outline of some of the reasons for homelessness. Librarians serve the homeless and of course can advocate for more affordable housing, more mental health and substance abuse services, but in the meantime, they will be encountering the homeless in their libraries as we reopen. The salient issue is the navigating between wanting to be a helper and wanting to make sure your library is an inviting space for all (Geisler 2019). I had hoped for this to be just a jumping off point for a rich conversation, but then there was Covid. I know in Geneva’s public library, which was situated in a very prosperous community, we were still scratching our heads about how to keep the library inviting to our patrons while keeping the homeless from getting naked and washing up in the bathrooms next to the children’s area. It’s a dilemma.


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