PUBLIC LIBRARIES CONTRIBUTING TO DIGITAL INCLUSION
Three homeless people at the door of Zagreb City Libraries in Zagreb.
The Zagreb City Libraries door is always open to homeless people who wish to enrol for the library’s ICT and job-seeking training. Photo credit Vlado Cvirn

Zagreb City Libraries in Croatia creates a lifeline for homeless people

Reasons for homelessness are diverse – insolvency, divorce, chronic illness, troubled childhoods, addiction and psychological and physical problems. Add to these feelings of shame and despair, and social stigma.

The homeless are a group that need special attention.

Zagreb City Libraries (ZCL), a network of public libraries that serves Zagreb and Zagreb County in Croatia, works with this complex group to increase their employability and build their self-image.

TWENTY-TWO HOMELESS PEOPLE FIND EMPLOYMENT

In just one year (2011/2012), the library trained 63 homeless people - 15% of all registered homeless people in Zagreb - to use ICT, and provided careers counselling, motivational training and psychosocial support for those who wanted them. Twenty-two of the trainees found employment.

No surrender! I continually spent time on the computers that the library installed in the shelter, and searched for a job online. I have found permanent employment.

- Dubravko Bernfest, resident of a homeless shelter for four years.

FACTS

1

In one year, the library trained 15% of all registered homeless people in Zagreb to use ICT.

2

Zagreb City Libraries helped 22 homeless people into employment in 2012.