Niche Academy logo with title slide of Librarian's Guide to Homelessness Training
October 2, 2019

The State Library of Ohio is excited to announce that it has purchased statewide access to The Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness through Niche Academy.  The online training, authored by Ryan Dowd, is now available for all Ohio public library staff.  The four-part training is an empathy-driven approach that provides best practices for library staff on how to understand the homeless population and serve them better. There are also practical tips on how to deal with and de-escalate common situations and issues, and make staff feel empowered and safe.  A former director of a Chicago homeless shelter, Ryan Dowd is the author of The Librarians Guide to Homelessness: An Empathy-Driven Approach to Solving Problems, Preventing Conflict, and Serving Everyone.  He travels all over the United States speaking to libraries about how to best help homeless patrons using empathy and respect.

“I’m thrilled that the State Library of Ohio is able to offer this series of training modules to the state’s public libraries,” said Evan T. Struble, Associate State Librarian for Library Development. “As we know, libraries should be open to all–and that includes patrons experiencing homelessness. Through these training modules, library staff will be given options on how best to serve that population with sensitivity and confidence.”

The online training will be available until September 17, 2020 so we encourage all Ohio libraries to access this valuable training while the subscription is active.

To access the training, go to the State Library of Ohio’s Training and Professional Development page and click the homelessness training link.  Once in Niche Academy, you will be prompted to create an account.

Next week Ryan Dowd will be hosting a live webinar- Tips For Managers of Front-line Staff on October 9 and October 10.  The webinar is free to access with the statewide subscription.  The webinar will not be offered on-demand so take advantage and access this live recording!

If you experience any issues accessing the training module, please email Erin Kelsey, library consultant, at

Access to this training module was made possible via support from the State Library of Ohio with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Media Contact:

Marsha McDevitt-Stredney, Public Information Officer and Director, Marketing & Communications (614) 644-6875