Poverty is pervasive. The United States is considered the richest country in the world, yet 37.9 million of its residents live in poverty. Over 12.5 million of these people are children.
Poverty is destructive. Studies show living in poverty increases the risk of chronic illness, toxic stress, discrimination, and exposure to violence. Children in poverty experience higher rates of cognitive, emotional, and health-related problems than higher-income youth.
Poverty is caused by systemic and societal factors: stagnant wages; a shrinking middle class; high incarceration rates; expiration of government social programs to name a few.
If you need help, the Library can guide you to community assistance organizations that are relevant to your need. Here are a few we recommend:
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Social Services Guide
Services related to food assistance, housing, legal help, LGBTQIA+ groups, seniors, veterans and more*
*Please note: Library staff are able to answer questions about the Guide and provide general information about resources. If you have questions about specific services, please contact the listed organizations directly.
- Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
Information on food pantries, distributions sites, senior food boxes, and help with SNAP enrollment
- Homeless Children’s Education Fund
Education services and advocacy for families facing house insecurity
- United Way of Southwestern PA
Connect with organizations that help with childcare, taxes transportation, utilities and more
Additionally, fictional and nonfiction accounts of poverty are proverbial mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors. Such books acknowledge the experiences of those in poverty, expose higher-income readers to issues they may not have faced, and encourage empathy and connection.
The following titles can help start a conversation with young ones, deepen perspectives about the realities of poverty, or inspire hope and action.
- On Our Street : Our First Talk About Poverty (also available as an eBook on Hoopla)
- Saturday at the Food Pantry (also available as an eBook on Hoopla)
- New Kid (also available as an eBook and eAudioBook on OverDrive/Libby and as an eAudio on Hoopla)
- Shelter: Homelessness in Our Community
- Punching Bag (also available as on eAudio on Hoopla)
- With the Fire on High (also available as an eBook and as an eAudio on Hoopla)
You can sign up for a free library card here.
If you are new to our eResources, check out these tutorial videos on how to get started.
If you’re looking for more book suggestions, we’re happy to recommend them to you! Use this Book Recommendation form to send us some information about what you like to read and we’ll curate a list just for you.
If you have any additional questions, you can contact a librarian through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You can also call us at 412.622.3114 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.