Homeless on the Net - Benton Foundation FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sat, 13 Mar 1999 11:11:25 -0800 (PST)

FWD  1999/03/12

 Issue:  Universal Access/Libraries

Some 2 million people spent at least some time homeless last
year. A growing number of them are starting to use Internet access
at public libraries to stay connected. "As an interurban library we've
always had people coming in here smelling bad or looking
tattered," said Cathy Camper, a librarian with the Minneapolis
Public Library. "Our library has always been used in that way and
the Internet is just an extension of that. My sense is what really
changed things was Hotmail. When free services started popping
up, that's when I noticed more people regularly coming in."

Free email accounts and Internet access can provide the homeless
with "lockers" -- a place to keep addresses and notes that are too
important to use. The Internet can also become their main news
source. And, of course, its a great place to connect with people.

"It's like that famous cartoon that says, `On the Net, nobody knows
you're a dog,' " said Katherine Venturella, editor of "Poor People
and Library Services." "Well, on the Internet, nobody knows you're

[SOURCE: Chicago Tribune (Sec 5, p.1), AUTHOR: Margie Wylie,
Universal Pres Syndicate]

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