Homeless Ask for Library Cards

By: Blaine Tolison Email
By: Blaine Tolison Email
Homeless coalition leaders say 3.3 million Americans will experience homelessness this year alone. And our homeless community is speaking out about their right to have a public library card.


In a modern public library, the service of checking out books has evolved. Now you can borrow DVD's, music, and more--just as long as you have a library card. For many in the homeless community who say they are not offered many opportunities, they believe this is one simple privilege that should not be taken away.

Anicia Zaporta, who has made The Shelter on Tennessee Street her home said, "For us to go to the library, it's going back to--they call it--a normal life. It's a way to escape from the pain that everyone's going through."

In order to have a library card, someone must have proof of local residency. For the homeless, their address might be someplace such as The Shelter. And although some of them might live there for five years or more, the Leon County Library says they must have a legal residence which proves they are a tax payer and they contribute to the

Cay Hohmeister, with the Leon County Public Library said, "We issue library cards to people who are residents of the county. So for example, we don't give a library card to someone who's staying in a hotel."

On the other side--some homeless say The Shelter is their permanent home. "If you live in a certain address, if you get mail there from the government, from anybody, that's your address. For me that's my home." said Zaporta.

Homeless coalition leaders locally say 3,000 to 4,000 people experience homelessness in Tallahassee each year.

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  • by Jake Location: TLH on Nov 29, 2008 at 09:57 AM
    To Molly, if you are serious about paying the Embarq bill for the internet at the Shelter please email me and I will assist you in arranging this.
  • by molly Location: tallahassee on Nov 28, 2008 at 11:59 AM
    If all folks are worried about is homeless not being able to be on the INTERNET----------hey, I'll pay the Embarq bill every month to give them internet connections at the SHELTERS. How hard can that be to have a few computers sitting around with limited connections to certain websites. No! our libraries are for citizens who pay taxes, are traceable, pay utilities. Like that poster said - if you don't want to discriminate - we should also be finding the homeless sitting and taking in the day down at some of the swanky restaurants too. But you won't see that. And we shouldn't see it at our library.
  • by molly Location: tallahassee on Nov 28, 2008 at 11:54 AM
    Let the bookmobile GO TO THE SHELTER...no excuses from them then. They can do their book checkouts then and be done with it. (((I bet you won't see 5 homeless/shelter residents go in that bookmobile when all they are allowed is 30 minutes to stay)))).
  • by taxpayer on Nov 28, 2008 at 10:51 AM
    Let the bums loiter in the library while the Shelter's closed. If you throw them out, they'll just call the ambulance and go to the ER. Surely the library's cheaper.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 28, 2008 at 09:05 AM
    You are right Bubba, I was thinking the same thing. They can do all the reading, internet research and printing they want. You are not allowed to have a library card without a legal residence which is proven by a current electricity bill, the library should not be required to check out books to people that they cannot track as it does not make good business sense. But they should be able to look at all the library material they want.
  • by phoenix Location: tallahassee on Nov 28, 2008 at 08:49 AM
    if you take away email and the internet away from the homeless then how do you expect them to find a job? everything is done on the internet today. the more truble they have finding a job the more homeless there will be, also why do you people judge the homeless so much. you think that just becouse they are homeless that they are mentaly unstable, or that they are child molesters. i know a couple of homeless people and they are fine people! i am not saying all of them are like that but its not like everybody with a home is a perfect citizen! they should have all the rights that anybody else has!
  • by Bubba Location: Tallahassee on Nov 28, 2008 at 07:37 AM
    To all the people on the post: I must be missing something. When did it become necessary to have a library card to enter the library? I believe a library card is for checking out material.
  • by notadummy Location: Ga on Nov 28, 2008 at 07:27 AM
    After you ban disagreeable people from the PUBLIC libraries, do you start working on banning the disagreeable books? At what point on the social ladder do we make knowledge universally available?
  • by Robert Location: Obrien on Nov 28, 2008 at 04:03 AM
    I guess some responders have never had a hard life- was homeless or had to wear the same dirty clothes several days. Not everyone has been as fortunate. I understand the point of not wanting to associate or be near someone, there are many civil, clean people I don`t care to be around. Until public libraries are converted to private libraries - I suggest just deal with it. Everyone is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty in this nation and I feel sure the library managers are capable of calling the police to remove (for cause) anyone that they want ejected from a public facility.
  • by notstarsinmyeyes Location: Tallahassee on Nov 28, 2008 at 02:12 AM
    All you kind hearted souls I have a news flash for you. This is not the 1950s 60, or even the 70s. It's a different world and people are different. The time of being a Pollyanna is gone. Sorry, but as the world fills up in your area, the whole ballgame changes. You can't take in people you don't know anymore (can I remind you of GARY HILTON!) - not blindly. You can't befriend people you don't know - without much caution. There are diseases we don't have medicines for - and people who are twisted and demented AND do nothing but spend time figuring how to spread them. Times are different. There is no room or luxury to do things out of utter kindness anymore. Not if you want to live to see tomorrow. Acts of kindness can be done, but not without much care and at great risk.
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