Focus on Poverty: Self-Study

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This list of resources, books, videos, articles, and exercises was recommended as the most useful homework assignments by the participants in the 3-session Understanding Povertyworkshops in the fall of 2017.  If you have questions about any of them, would like further suggestions for continued learning, or have suggestions of resources to add, please contact Leah.  Public Library Directors needing contact hours for certification can document up to 10 hours spent on these resources as Category C learning.

Library-Specific information and tools

Trauma-Informed Librarianship is a free 2-part webinar series produced by the Public Library Association in 2015.  It focuses on homelessness,  but has basic information about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), the physiological effects of trauma, and trauma-informed care. If you want to skip the statistics about homelessness, you can start webinar 1 at 25:45.

The Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness:  An Empathy-Driven Approach to Solving Problems, Preventing Conflict, and Serving Everyone, a 2018 book by Ryan Dowd, is available through the IFLS Professional Collection.

Shorter articles or videos about poverty

When Work Is Not Enough:  Toward Better Policies to Support Wisconsin’s Working Families  

A 13-page explanation of living wages, prevailing wages, and ways to support working families from COWS, a non-partisan think-tank based at UW-Madison.

Activities to learn about poverty, privilege, and resources

Take this quiz, which will probably take about 5 minutes at the most, and look at your results:

Play Spent, an online poverty simulator activity you could do as a group or individually.  Takes 5-15 minutes, depending on how long you decide to do it.

Use a patron request for information about community resources (or if you don’t have a request, make one up). Try calling 211 to get information about these resources, and see how it works for you, how easy it is to use, and whether or not you get a referral to an accessible resource (or more). You can also try searching the website:

Books or longer videos about poverty

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, a book by Matthew Desmond.

Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction, this book looks at the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the stories of families on the edge.

Poor Kids: 2012 PBS Frontline documentary exploring the lives of three young girls and their family struggles with poverty.  At a time when one in five American kids lives below the poverty line, an unflinching and revealing exploration of what poverty means to children, and to the country’s future.

Paper Tigers film (102 minutes)

This is a 2016 documentary about an alternative school in Walla Walla, Washington that delves into its success had once teachers, administrators, and counselors, started to implement trauma-informed care.  Available on Amazon Prime, also on MORE from Ellsworth, Ladysmith and Menomonie.

Short videos about self-care

Beyond The Cliff TEDx Talk with Laura Vandernoot Lipsky

A 24 minute video of a talk by the author of Trauma Stewardship, discussing the cumulative effect that exposure to other people’s trauma, and suggesting ways to counter-act it.

Boundaries, Empathy, and Compassion with Dr. Brené Brown (6 minute video)