Monday, August 14, 2017

Let the library help you

I'm not saying this is a happy story.

Having no great love for the contemporary drift of my library into the Social Services end of the spectrum, I took no particular delight in our new "Community Resource Advocate" program. This is where we regularly have some Social Worker person come in for people who need help with housing, public aid, and related sorts of things. I'm not saying I think it's a bad program, but I do take a slightly jaundiced view towards it. This reflects my feelings of what the mission of a large library is and should be, but it also reflects my views on most modern American Social Services in general; namely, that their primary engagement is to sustain themselves. Helping tends to be secondary.

So there I am, being not thrilled about "Community Resource Advocates" when someone shows me a letter.

It is a heartwarming letter.

It's written by a young man who I know well by sight, someone who's here at my library everyday.

He's homeless. He's drifting through life, stuck, living rough, when he hears about our Community Advocate. He decides, as he puts it, to stop feeling sorry for himself. He decides to see the Advocate and turn his life around.

So, as he relates in his nice letter, he went. The Advocate helped him with a number of issues and sources for help, and this kid was going to take advantage of them; resumes, housing, clothes, aid, etc. He felt hope again and just wanted to thank us.

It was a nice letter. Everyone in the program felt happy and proud. 

But now, alas, we must roll the clock forward half a year to today.

And I must report that that same kid is still here everyday, in his same unwashed hoodie, at the same computer, all day long.

I'm just saying, maybe not counseling, and job training programs, and resume helpers, and non profit agencies, and Community Resource Advocates. Maybe if the County wants to help him, just, give him a decent job. I think he can handle it. Hell, he can work at the library. He's already demonstrated the main requirement for the job: He always arrives here on time.


  1. Agree. What kind of a society are we creating? I see so many healthy, strong people who are jobless. Why?

  2. I'm glad you agree. If your question isn't rhetorical I might say, er, late stage capitalism? Management? 40 hour workweeks? Hierarchy? Oligarchy? Centrists? The triumph of image over creativity.

    Maybe I better just take it as rhetorical.


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