Public library services for the poor

Contact: Jill Davis

ALA Editions

800-545-2433 ext. 5418


For Immediate Release

April 6, 2010

ALA Editions, the publishing imprint of the American Library Association, announces the release of “
Public Library Services for the Poor: Doing All We Can,” by Leslie Edmonds Holt & Glen E. Holt. This ground-breaking work demonstrates how five
Key Action Areas adopted by the ALA Council (Diversity, Equity of Access, Education and Continuous Learning, Intellectual Freedom and 21st-Century Literacy) apply especially to this disadvantaged population and motivates librarians to use creative solutions to meet their needs.

Among public institutions, the library has great potential for helping the poor and disenfranchised. For many, the library is their only place for information, literacy, entertainment, language skills, employment help, free computer use and even safety and shelter. Experts Glen and Leslie Holt, who have accumulated decades of service to inner-city communities between them, challenge librarians to do more for poor people. While recognizing the financial crunch libraries are under, the authors offer concrete advice about programs and support, showing librarians and administrators how to

  • Train staff to meet the unique needs of the poor, including youth
  • Cooperate with other agencies to form partnerships and collaborations that enrich library services to the poor and homeless
  • Find help, financial and other, for libraries

Dr. Leslie Edmonds Holt is president and CEO of Holt Consulting and associate editor of
Public Library Quarterly. She has 25 years of experience working in public libraries, including a decade-long term as director of Youth Services and Community Relations at the St. Louis Public Library. She has taught at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Glen Holt is the editor of
Public Library Quarterly. He has written columns on library economics in
The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finance and
Library Leadership Network Commons. In addition, he is co-author of three other LIS books. In 2003 he received PLA’s Charlie Robinson Award for innovation and risk taking in the profession, and he is one of only two dozen library professionals who helped articulate library best practices as a member of Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation’s International Network of Public Librarians.

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