You might not expect your library to be a place for people in need to find housing or jobs, but that’s just what places like Central Library in Tulsa, Oklahoma are doing.
Deborah Hunter will tell you in a heartbeat she loves what she does. Every day, she sees people come in to Central Library to get out of the heat, or just have somewhere to stay during business hours.
She’s a case manager with the library, with as many as five new clients every day, who she sees for as many as two hours to help. Hunter helps people who come to her find jobs, housing, and assistance they need.
“All state and federal agencies are paperless now, so this is a huge roadblock for many people who don’t use computers or have never used computers, who have literacy issues,” Hunter said. “So it’s very difficult for the people who actually need the services to access them.”
When Hunter isn’t helping a client, she’s patrolling the library for anyone who’s come in who may need her help.
“If I notice someone is having difficulty, I’ll stop, introduce myself, talk to them and offer my help, then it’s up to them,” Hunter said.
Case workers are becoming more popular in larger libraries, in large part because it’s already where people who need help frequently visit. She’s in Central Library Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and says she’s open to working with anyone who comes in looking for her help.