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Auckland Council The Auckland Plan

Library engagement with homeless people

Rough sleepers value the Central City Library as a safe public space.

This was one of the findings in the An insight into the experience of rough sleeping in central Auckland study (PDF 290KB).

After learning this, library staff wanted to find out more about the experiences and expectations of the homeless community. Supported by the Auckland City Mission and other partners, they hosted a hui with more than 30 rough sleepers.

At this hui, and in other discussions, community members shared stories and ideas for initiatives the library could implement.

Now the library offers:

  • Monday Movies and morning tea – for which participants select titles from the library's DVD collection and the library obtains a licence to screen them without charge
  • a weekly book group
  • a media club which enables participants to blog about life on the streets.

Building on the trust established through working together, the library and rough sleeping advocates have worked together to raise awareness of homelessness in Auckland.

One example is the interactive maze created by urban artist Margaret Lewis. It takes people on a journey from being housed to homeless. It was an event run at the Central City Library as part of Artweek 2017 and marking World Homeless Day.

Another example is the Human Library event, in collaboration with Splice that enabled people to book time with a homeless person to hear their story first-hand. Read more on the Splice website.

These initiatives have been shaped through co-design and partnership, and have been led by rough sleepers themselves.