A.E. Araiza/ Arizona Daily Star
"Daniel Lopez is not a librarian, but one of the nation's first library nurses."
Pima County, Arizona has hired a registered nurse to peruse the stacks and assist many of homeless and downtrodden that frequent the county libraries.
Building on the success of the San Francisco Public Library's hiring of a social worker in 2010, local library officials are fully committed to helping the underserved segments of their visitor pool.
The problem is not an isolated one as Stephanie Inness reports in the Arizona Daily Star:
Lopez is Pima County's novel answer to a common issue in public libraries across the country - a growing number of patrons living without shelter, health insurance, medical care or computer access. They come to the library looking not only for resources, but also for safety and protection from the elements. The shaky economy and high unemployment have further fueled the need.
"We are branching out from the library-science degree and filling positions with other expertises that apply as well," said Marcia Warner, past president of the Public Library Association, a division of the American Library Association. "We serve all populations, and some populations have different issues. It's just part of serving the public."
"A lot of what I do is education," Lopez said. "The stethoscope is mostly so people recognize me." To date, he has already assisted patrons with detoxification, psychiatric crisis, injury and acute illnesses.
Library nurses look after those in need, Arizona Daily Star
Previously on book patrol: