Zagreb City Libraries, Croatia

Impact Assessment Results

Library service helps 22 homeless people find work

PLIP grantee: Zagreb City Libraries, Croatia

Impact study results, January 2013:
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Zagreb City Libraries’ employment information and internet skills training programme helped 22 homeless people find full-time, part-time or temporary jobs – to the surprise of city officials:

‘We were positively surprised to see a cultural institution – the library – showing such sensitivity and ability in improving the lives of homeless people!’ Ms Romana Galić, of the City of Zagreb Office of Social Protection and Persons with Disabilities, told the library.

The library launched the service in November 2011 with support from EIFL’s Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP). In less than a year, the service trained 68 homeless people to use information and communication technology (ICT) and to look for jobs.

To read more about the impact of this innovative and successful public library service, see the Library’s Impact Study Results, presented here.

Previous project updates:

Eager volunteers queue up to work with library service for homeless 

Library’s pioneering service attracts second shelter for homeless

Library employment service reaches out to homeless


Background to the Libraries Network for Empowering the Homeless

Serving a community need
Croatia mapEconomic recession in Croatia in recent years has led to a sharp increase in the numbers of people who have lost both their jobs and their homes. The number of registered homeless people in Zagreb is 400, but estimates are that there are now ten times as many – around 4,000. According to the UN report Unplugged: Faces of Social Exclusion in Croatia (UN, 2006) homeless people’s level of education is lower than average. As a result, they feel socially excluded and stigmatized. In Zagreb, many homeless people live in a large shelter, Kosnica, on the outskirts of the city. They do not have the resources or, in some cases, the motivation to travel into the city to look for work.

The new service
Zagreb City Libraries seeks to increase the motivation and employability of homeless people by providing computer and Internet training, psychosocial support and job-seeking and application skills. The library will install four computers in the Kosnica shelter and employ a trainer to work with small groups of homeless people. The homeless will be encouraged to seek work, to market their new skills and to share information about jobs. They will also be encouraged to blog about their experiences and to write articles for Street Lamps, a magazine for the homeless.

Outcomes of the new service will be raised self-confidence and motivation among homeless people; and reduced social stigma against the homeless. The service also aims to change the perception of public libraries as places for books and reading, so that people view them as dynamic and positive places that can serve special community needs and break down prejudice.

Zagreb City Libraries comprises a network of 42 branches and a mobile library service.

Working together
Zagreb Volunteer Centre brings expertise in working with socially excluded groups to the new service; the Rehabilitation Centre for Stress and Trauma will design psychosocial support workshops; staff of the Kosnica shelter will act as a link between the library and the homeless, and Street Lamps magazine will market the new service and provide space in its pages for articles written by the library’s trainees.

Replication of a successful service
Libraries Network for Empowering the Homeless replicates Public Library Braka Milodinovci’s ‘Creative Minds Create Job Opportunities’ service. Read more about Creative Minds Create Job Opportunities.

If you want to know more about this project, contact:

Sanja Bunić
Zagreb City Libraries
Starčevićev trg 6
10000 Zagreb, Croatia

Tel: +385 146 94 327