Find Ways to Say Yes: How we Made our Library More Inclusive Through Removing Barriers to Membership

  • Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney Driftwood Public Library
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Creating policies that are equitable and inclusive can often mean an iterative process of incremental changes that slowly evolve the culture of an organization. One example of this is the way that Driftwood Public Library, a medium-sized coastal library in Lincoln City, changed its library card policies to better serve members of the community experiencing homelessness or without a fixed address.

In 2013, Driftwood Public Library (DPL) began an initiative to look at our policies and procedures with fresh eyes, and modify those policies that were presenting significant barriers to individuals who wished to use the library. Library card policies quickly rose to the top. At the time, the library required official photo ID and proof of address to obtain a card, as well as the contact information for a third party who did not live with the applicant. The proof of address requirement was very stringent, requiring a lease or utility bill in the person’s name. It presented a great deal of difficulty for individuals who had recently moved to the city or who did not have any accounts in their own name. A scenario that library staff encountered more than once concerned adult children who had returned to Lincoln City to care for an ailing family member. Because they did not own or lease property in the area, were in town for an extended visit with an uncertain endpoint, and were usually staying with the family member, proving residency was a surprisingly difficult hurdle.


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Author Biography

Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney, Driftwood Public Library

Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney is the director of Driftwood Public Library in Lincoln City, Oregon. Prior to moving to Oregon in late 2010, Kirsten was a children’s librarian and branch manager with the Free Library of Philadelphia, and holds an MLIS from Drexel University in Philadelphia. Kirsten is the newly elected ALA Council Representative for the Oregon Library Association and co-chairs the OLA Intellectual Freedom Committee. She is also a member of the ALA Rainbow Round Table (formerly GLBT Round Table) Over the Rainbow book list committee. In her free time you are likely to find her tinkering with her hi-fi or attempting to read and knit at the same time.

How to Cite
Brodbeck-Kenney, K. (2019). Find Ways to Say Yes: How we Made our Library More Inclusive Through Removing Barriers to Membership. OLA Quarterly, 25(2), 5-7.