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Worcester Public Library Settles Homeless Suit

What a great way to start 2007! We almost missed the following positive news, which appeared December 25th:

Last week, the city [of Worcester, Mass.] settled with the Legal Assistance Corp. of Central Massachusetts and the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, which filed the suit on behalf of three co-plaintiffs who live in shelters and felt they were discriminated against.

Under the settlement, the library has scrapped its policy restricting borrowing privileges of residents of shelters, transitional housing programs and adolescent programs.

In addition, the city has agreed to host the National Coalition for the Homeless’ Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau in Worcester, according to a joint statement released by the library and Legal Assistance Corporation. As part of the event, people who have experienced homelessness share their stories with the community, telling of the hardships and discrimination they faced …

The head of the local chapter of the ACLU said when the suit was filed that people should be judged on their own merits, and not on their living status. Last week, those involved in the case praised the resolution without the need for further legal action.

“We appreciate the willingness of the city and the library board of directors to come to the table to discuss equal access to the library and its materials for all,” Jonathan L. Mannina, executive director of Legal Assistance, said.

The complete story is available on the LACCM’s Web site.

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