[Libs-Or] Library cards for homeless/those without permanent address
janesa at multcolib.org
Mon Jul 9 11:02:35 PDT 2012
There are some creative ways to serve and welcome all, and I think many
libraries have tried to write policies that cover many kinds of life
At Multnomah County, there are some pertinent sections in our circulation
manual that address these issues. Here are a couple of excerpts:
" If a patron is unwilling or unable to meet the legal name, residential
address or photo identification requirements for security or physical
reasons, an exception may be made on an individual basis by a supervisor or
Account Management staff member."
"New patrons are required to provide a residential address and show
identification to receive a Multnomah County Library card. ...Patrons who
do not have a permanent residential address may give the address where they
are residing on that day or the address of a shelter where they can receive
There are services in Portland that will provide a mailing address, allow
the mailing address to be used to obtain identification and/or will assist
patrons with getting identification. For services outside of Portland, call
211 for other assistance options.
These organizations have mail or identification services:
ORGANIZATION LOCATION/PHONE SERVICES (May receive mail at location *) City
Team Ministries 526 SE GRAND AVE
503.231.9334 Use mailing address for identification * Outside In (ages 18
to 24 only) 1132 SW 13 AVE
503.535.3800* Birth certificate assistance
Transgender name and identification assistance*
Use mailing address for identification * Portland Rescue Mission 111 W
503.647.7466 Use mailing address for identification * Salvation Army
Harbor Light Shelter
(veterans only) 30 SW 2 AVE
503.239.1259 Residents may use mailing address for identification SAFE -
Female Emergency Center
(single women only) 11 NW 5th AVE
503.227.8681 Residents and clients may use mailing address
for identification Sisters of the Road Café 133 NW 6 AVE
503.222.5694 Use mailing address for identification St. Francis Parish 330
SE 11 AVE Use mailing address for identification * TPI - Transition
Bud Clark Commons 650 NW Irving ST
503.823.4930* Identification assistance
*Use mailing address for identification *
Note: ID assistance is offered by lottery. Bring your Social
Security card and a statement from DHS stating that
income is less than $677 per month. Call or visit for times
and more information.
*1. Obtaining identification*
a. Because library card and guest pass registrations require
identification, patrons may need assistance with obtaining identification.
b. See the chart above for organizations that will provide a mailing
address for the purposes of obtaining an Oregon State Identification card.
c. For other identification information, please call:
- 503-299-9999 for Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requirements
- 1-800-772-1213 for Social Security requirements.
- 211 for other assistance options.
*2. Mailing address*
a. Patrons must be able to receive mail from the library. Proof of
address is not required at registration. Patrons who do not have a
permanent residential address may give the address where they are residing
on that day or the address of a shelter where they can receive mail.
Several shelters have mail services where patrons can receive mail. See the
chart above. Patrons may use a shelter mailing address as their residential
What we are trying at Multnomah County to is provide a combination of
useful information for patrons who may need ID and don't have it, and a
generous address policy so that people are able to use the library. In my
view, the library should accompany a clear policy with an ethic of service
to all. Thus, we try to offer as many services as we can, such as deposit
collections, to local shelters and drop-in centers, and to welcome all into
I have been involved with library service to homeless people for many
years, and the first question is often about getting library materials
back. It's an understandable question, but I have always wished that the
first question would be "How shall we best serve people who are homeless?"
On Mon, Jul 9, 2012 at 10:43 AM, Candise Branum <cbranum at ocom.edu> wrote:
> I have to respectfully disagree, Bob. I think our responsibility is to not
> just serve those who can pay for services, but to enrich the community at
> large. Especially in times of economic crisis, the public library is one of
> the few places where people should have access to the resources that will
> allow them to enrich themselves. I think it is great that you are exploring
> this issue, Kirsten. I don't have any suggestions for you, but I'd love to
> hear what you decide.
> Candise Branum, MLS
> College Librarian
> Oregon College of Oriental Medicine
> 10525 SE Cherry Blossom Drive
> Portland, OR 97216
> 503-253-3443 ext.134 | www.library.ocom.edu
> On Mon, Jul 9, 2012 at 10:28 AM, Bob Jones <
> Bob.Jones at milton-freewater-or.gov> wrote:
>> This is an interesting question, because it’s not simply “How do we serve
>> everyone who wants service?”.
>> Most public libraries are supported primarily through property taxes.
>> Therefore their primary responsibilities are:
>> (1) Provide services to those who provide your funding, which would
>> be property owners who pay taxes directly and renters who pay taxes
>> indirectly through their property-owner landlords
>> (2) Safeguard a large investment in public property (books,
>> periodicals, videos, audio recordings, etc.) by having a way to track down
>> and hold accountable borrowers who fail to return materials
>> For these reasons, most libraries require library card applicants to show
>> proof of residence in the city, county, or district which funds the
>> library. In addition, there often are severe limits on first-time
>> borrowers, who account for a high percentage of losses.
>> Homeless people generally cannot provide documentation to verify
>> residency. Likewise, some people who have resided in your service area for
>> years choose to not have any form of ID which you may require, such as a
>> driver’s license, DMV ID card, voter registration card, utility bill, etc.
>> If you refuse to issue cards to one group, how can you justify serving the
>> other (and this works in both directions)?
>> If you want to have more lenient standards for homeless people and/or for
>> people who choose to have no form of ID, how can you justify stricter
>> standards for other people? That would be discriminatory. But do you
>> really want anyone who walks in the door to carry out anything they wish
>> with no reasonable way to find them and hold them responsible for failure
>> to bring stuff back in a timely manner? That would be irresponsible.
>> I’d be interested in learning what you decide to do, and how you justify
>> Bob Jones
>> Library Director
>> Milton-Freewater Public Library
>> -----Original Message-----
>> *From:* libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us [mailto:
>> libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us] *On Behalf Of *Kirsten
>> *Sent:* Sunday, July 08, 2012 3:43 PM
>> *To:* libs-or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us
>> *Subject:* [Libs-Or] Library cards for homeless/those without permanent
>> We're currently exploring ways to better serve our transient population
>> here in Lincoln City. In the past we have worked out cards for individuals
>> staying at a nearby domestic violence shelter, and we allow anyone to make
>> use of our computers, but I would like to set up something more permanent
>> and wide-ranging that would allow individuals without a permanent address
>> to better access library services.
>> We have some ideas here on staff, but I would be very interested in
>> hearing how other libraries have tackled this. What kinds of requirements
>> do you have in order to obtain a card? Do cards for those without permanent
>> address have the same borrowing privileges, or modified privileges? Have
>> you experienced a great deal of material loss, or no? I suspect I may have
>> to work pretty hard to get 100% buy-in from my board and from staff, so any
>> information you've got would be great!
>> Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney
>> Library Director
>> Driftwood Public Library
>> 801 SW HWY 101, #201
>> Lincoln City, OR 97367
>> kbrodbeck-kenney at lincolncity.org
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> Technical questions? Call 503-378-8800.
Supervisor, Library Outreach Services
Multnomah County Library
205 NE Russell
Portland, OR 97212
Phone: 503.988.4081 Website: www.multcolib.org
*janesa at multcolib.org <xxxxxxx at multcolib.org>*
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