Good Samaritans respond to need

Anthony Maguire. d424456
Anthony Maguire. d424456

Mr Maguire, who had been homeless for a month, contacted The Guardian Express last month after he was denied a library membership at the Inglewood Library.

Staff at the library told him that he could pay $50 for a temporary membership at the library.

At least five people have since contacted the Guardian Express and crisis centre offering to pay his temporary membership and other good Samaritans have donated books and linen to the crisis centre.

Crisis centre manager Nick said the issue had touched a nerve in the community.

‘It’s touched the heartstrings of many people, especially during winter when people want to enjoy a book,’ he said.

‘It has been great to have others come on board. The community has really gotten on board.’

A national library service was launched in Perth earlier this year.

The Footpath Library founder and managing director Sarah Garnett worked on a panel representing libraries in NSW that developed a toolkit for libraries nationally called Libraries Are For Everyone.

‘This was distributed to all libraries a few months ago through ALIA, the national body,’ Ms Garnett said.

‘It has suggestions on how libraries can be more inclusive such as changing their membership requirements so that customers do not need proof of address to join ” they can just show a Centrelink card.’

Ms Garnett said this was the first example she had heard of someone being charged a fee for a temporary library membership.

‘Of course it is up to individual libraries but most have been enthusiastic (to make changes) including the State Libraries.’

The Footpath Library will set up a mobile service as well as set up libraries in refuges, hostels and community organisations for homeless people.