Socioeconomic Status

Socioeconomic Status Final Copy

Issues related to socioeconomic status are often difficult to categorize since they relate to a variety of interconnected issues. The following list includes some general resources related to poverty as well as resources related to specific issues that affect a person’s socioeconomic status (food, education, health, energy & housing, and family & economic security)

General Resources

  • Web Help for Low-Income Patrons 1
    More and more libraries are faced with patrons that have turned to the library for help with social service needs. Assistance for education, job training, healthcare, food and other services are often locally based. However, this article provides a list of national-level websites that can help staff point patrons to benefits available from every level of government.
  • Confronting Suburban Poverty in America 2
    Poverty is no longer just an urban or rural problem. Since 2000, suburbia is home to the fast-growing poor populations in America. The authors examine the causes of this change – shifts in affordable housing and jobs, immigration and the economy – and the challenges of fighting poverty on a metropolitan scale. They highlight a number of recommendations for dealing with the issue including community development issues, the integration of services and collaboration.
  • Missourians to End Poverty 3

    Missourians to End Poverty is a coalition of individuals, businesses, non-profits and government agencies dedicated to ending poverty in Missouri. The group publishes an annual poverty report for the state of Missouri. It also holds poverty summits to help communities engage in fighting poverty.


  • Range4

    This app for Apple and Android devices provides locations of free summer meal sites for children across the country. It also provides the locations of public libraries across the country as part of a network of safe places for children.

  • Missouri Hunger Atlas 2013 5

    The atlas examines the extent of food insecurity in the State of Missouri and how well public programs are meeting the needs of Missourians. The first section of the atlas compares need indicators and performance indicators at the state level. The remainder of the atlas provides county level statistics and ranks each county by need indicators and performance indicators.

  • Feeding America 6

    Feeding America works to engage the country in the fight to stop hunger. The research section of their website contains news and reports on the impact of hunger in America. Topics covered include diabetes, Latinos, seniors, food banks and more. The Map the Meal Gap tool allows users to study hunger in America down to the county level.

Energy & Housing

  • Hunger, Homelessness and Poverty Task Force 7

    The Hunger, Homelessness and Poverty Task Force (HHPTF) is part of the American Library Association’s Social Responsibilities Roundtable. Its goal is to raise awareness of poverty issues and ensure that libraries are accessible and useful for low-income citizens. The site includes a blog and other resources related to issues faced by low-income citizens.

  • A Home to the Homeless 8

    The author discusses the needs of homeless patrons and ways librarians can make libraries a welcoming place for all users.

  • Not just a place to sleep: homeless perspectives on libraries in central Michigan 9

    This article examines the ways that people without permanent housing use libraries, how they perceive libraries, and what their specific information needs might be.


  • Missouri Adult Education and Literacy Program 10

    The Missouri Adult Education and Literacy Program provides assistance that helps Missouri adults get the basic skills they need to be productive workers, family members and citizens. Use the site to learn more about the High School Equivalency Exam, access online study materials, find local adult literacy programs and resources related to adult basic and continuing education.

  • Supporting Adult Literacy 11

    This article examines ways libraries can support adult literacy programs. The author provides talking points on why libraries and adult literacy programs are a natural fit and then goes on to describe how her library started an adult literacy program. She also includes a list of adult literacy resources.

  • Adult Literacy Approaches in Public Libraries 12

    Two librarians discuss the adult literacy programs offered at their libraries. They focus on the partnerships they have developed, how they use volunteers and how the programs are funded.


  • Health Happens in Libraries Program 13

    The Health Happens in Libraries program provides resources to help public library staff develop partnerships with local community health organizations and answer patron requests for community health information. One section of the site provides guides and other resources to assist patrons in navigating the health insurance marketplace. The site also shares stories from public libraries that have incorporated successful health education programs into their communities.

  • Improving Health Literacy, One Public Library at a Time 14

    This article discusses health information resources available through the National Network of Libraries of Medicine and the National Library of Medicine. The article explores strategies for increasing staffs’ comfort level with health information resources, developing programs and outreach services and improving health literacy with your community.

Family & Economic Security

  • Libraries and Workforce Development 15

    Libraries are uniquely situated to help people prepare for and find jobs, promote educational opportunities, assist business owners and raise literacy levels. This article describes workforce development programs at five Texas libraries focusing on the services offered and program partners.

  • Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries 16

    Results from the study show that libraries are serving as an important supplement to local and federal agencies focused on employment activities, by providing access to needed services in a setting that can offer support and access to all members of the community. In addition to finding actual jobs, people reported using the library’s online resources for preparatory steps such as creating resumes, researching job information, submitting applications online, and receiving training for job-related skills. Those who are employed use the library to conduct work, and entrepreneurs and small business owners use the library’s computer resources for writing business plans, finding investors, marketing, and business administration.

  • Making Cities Stronger 17

    This report focuses on a survey on workforce development activity in local libraries. The study finds public libraries are increasingly fitting into the formal and informal network of community groups that are working to elevate the level of education and economic potential in the community. The report examines the impact public libraries have on workforce literacy, small business development and digital literacy.

    Urban Libraries Council. Making Cities Stronger: Public Library Contributions to Local Economic Development. Chicago: Urban Public Libraries Council, 2007.

  • Missouri Workforce Development Board 18

    The Missouri Workforce Development Board oversees the implementation of The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). WIOA is designed to help job seekers and workers access employment, education, training, and support services needed to succeed in the labor market, and match employers with the skilled workers needed to compete in the global economy. The site provides links to regional workforce development centers as well as information on the Missouri labor market at the state, regional and local levels.

Training Tools & Programs
The following free webinars and training resources will provide your staff with the information and skills to assist patrons struggling with poverty and its associated issues.

  • General
    • 2-1-1 and Library Partnerships 19

      Hear from libraries that are partnering with their local 2-1-1 providers to appropriately meet and manage the growing needs of our patron communities. Find out how you can connect your patrons to the services provided through the 2-1-1 database, and learn how to focus your “reference interview” when patron needs relate to social services.

    • The Community Connector: Referring Social Services at the Library 20

      Every day, patrons enter libraries around the country with questions about health, housing, employment, counseling and other essential human services. Many libraries are now exploring ways to expand their role as connector to community social services through resources such as web pages, mobile apps, and databases. These services might refer somebody to a free meal, legal assistance, support groups, and much more. Hear examples of how referral services and resources have augmented the social services connections that contribute to community vitality.

  • Food
    • USDA Summer Meals Program21

      The USDA website provides information, toolkits and webinars for libraries that are interested in starting a summer meal program, partnering with other summer meal program sites or just want to be able to share information about summer meal programs with patrons.

    • Missouri Department of Health Summer Food Service Program22

      The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website provides information specific to the summer food service program in Missouri.

  • Energy & Housing
    • A Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness 23

      Ryan Dowd of Hesed House (a homeless shelter) speaks on “A Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness”. His goal is to provide librarians with information they need to know to provide assistance and services to homeless patrons.

    • Understanding and Serving People Experiencing Homelessness: A Trauma-Informed Approach to Library Service 24

      This two-part webinar from the Public Library Association examines the prevalence, causes, and impact of homelessness and related trauma on children and adults, while exploring ways to address homelessness in public libraries.

    • Reducing Homelessness Through Library Engagement

      “Extending Our Reach: Reducing Homelessness Through Library Engagement” is designed to help librarians and library staff create meaningful library services for people who are experiencing homelessness. The toolkit can be downloaded from the site. An archived webinar is also accessible from the Outreach Resources for Service to Poor and Homeless People page

    • Education
      • Crafting a Successful Adult Education Program for Small, Rural and/or Part-time Libraries 27

        This webinar, presented in collaboration with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries, showcases successful adult education opportunities for patrons who lack a GED, or other high school equivalency.

      • HiSET (High School Equivalency Exam) 28

        Tom Robbins, Coordinator of Adult Education for Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) discusses the new HiSET, high school equivalency exam. On January 2, 2014, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) began using the HiSET test, replacing the previously used GED test. The webinar looks at what the test covers, how to register and where to take the test.

      • Racing to Read to Go 29

        For libraries to remain relevant in the 21st century, they must be able to demonstrate to their communities the role they play and the contributions they make to the community’s economic and educational success. This webinar explores the impact early literacy skills has on kindergarten readiness, academic success and adult literacy. Then, it discusses how libraries can reach families who do not use the library, including recognizing the challenges families face and the organizations and agencies that help them address those challenges.

      • Family Literacy Programming in the Library 30

        Julie Douglas, a representative of the Missouri Humanities Council, discusses their family literacy program called READ from the START. She explains how READ from the START works and who it is geared toward. Miranda Restovic provides information on Prime Time: Family Reading Time. She covers how Prime Time works and whom it is geared toward.

    • Health
      • Public Health and Public Libraries: Librarians as Health Literacy First Responders 31

        Public libraries are uniquely positioned to contribute to healthy communities by providing informed access to reliable health information. This panel presentation provides an overview of the field of public health, highlighting innovative health promotion initiatives at public libraries, and covering training and funding resources for health-related library outreach and programming.

      • Health Happens in Libraries: Launching Community Conversations with Local Health Data 32

        Community health data allows public library leaders and local partners to launch conversations and prioritize activities to support community members with reliable health information and services. The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program provides a comprehensive platform for community based organizations of all kinds to examine and take action on community health data. Attendees at this webinar will: 1) learn about ways in which cross-sector collaboration can positively influence social and environmental factors that impact community health, 2) gain familiarity with key features of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps tool and 3) learn how Buffalo & Erie County Public Library has built awareness, partnerships and services in support of community health, using local data and networks.

      • Health Happens in Libraries: Pathways to Guide Health Education at Your Library 33

        Access to reliable consumer health information is an essential component of individual and community well being. Because of their unique role and reputation for being open and available to all, public libraries bring valuable assets to supporting local community health efforts. Participants will be introduced to foundational considerations for ensuring ethics and privacy in patron interactions, maintaining health collections at the public library, addressing community health literacy, and supporting healthy communities through partnerships.

      • Health Information Resources for Library Staff 34

        Public libraries provide a variety of health reference services and public programs to support community health literacy. Learn more about the health information resources available through the National Library of Medicine and the NN/LM. Representatives of the NN/LM Pacific Southwest Regional Medical Library will discuss their collaborative efforts with public libraries regarding the Affordable Care Act and other popular health information topics. The Santa Ana Public Library will share strategies for strengthening your library’s health information services.

    • Family & Economic Security
      • Crisis in Employment: A Librarian’s Guide to Helping Job Seekers 35

        Librarians continue to see job seekers visiting the library for assistance with a number of topics. This book provides a how-to-guide on providing assistance to job seekers for libraries with little or no budget. The author stress the importance of creating community partnerships and marketing information to stakeholders about the services provided by the library. The appendix provides a list of resources and sample documents.

      • Working With Your Workforce Center 36

        Workforce Centers operate with myriad local, state and federal funding streams to support the unemployed, but not every job seeker qualifies. Learn how this impacts your library patrons and what libraries can do to make better connections for our customers.

      • Workforce Literacy: Supporting Job Seekers in Your Community 37

        As job seekers of all kinds continue to come to the library for resources and support, libraries continue to find new ways to respond to this essential community need. Workforce literacy impacts a variety of patrons, including ex-offenders reentering the workforce, small businesses looking to grow, young first time job seekers, military personnel and veterans, and older adults seeking new skills to stay in the workforce. Work SC brings a comprehensive, yet accessible, set of tools to South Carolina residents through the State Library. Find out how your library, large or small, can adapt these service models and partnerships to provide the resources and support your local community needs to thrive in today’s workforce.

      • Serving Job Seekers: Library and Workforce System Partnerships That Work 38

        In this webinar, learn how innovative partnerships between state and local libraries and their workforce systems can amplify services to meet community employment needs.

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