Ryan Dowd Trainings About Libraries and Homelessness are Available on Niche Academy

The Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness core training purchased by the State Library in 2019 was recently renewed for another year (access through August 2022). The online training, authored by Ryan Dowd, is available for all Ohio public and academic 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.

To get started, Create a  Niche Academy account.  Once in Niche Academy, you will be prompted to create an account.

A little extra hope

If you or your staff need a little hope in these crazy times, Ryan is trying to post videos from the shelter regularly. They can be found at our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HomelessTrainingbyRyanDowd

Presented by Ryan Dowd:

  • Author of the American Library Association book, The Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness.
  • Executive Director of a large homeless shelter outside of Chicago.
  • Global trainer to libraries, police departments, nonprofits and other organizations on how to compassionately manage problematic behavior from troubled individuals.

If you have trouble accessing the content, email Erin Kelsey at the State Library of Ohio at  ekelsey@library.ohio.gov.

Upcoming Webinars

Ryan Dowd is redesigning the core homelessness training and needs your help!

Starting January 20, Ryan will hold three interactive sessions (see the schedule below). During each session, a section of the current core training will be shown.

Each session will also include:

  • Surveys to get feedback on training material
  • Several Q&A breaks so folks can ask for clarification
  • Interactive chat where folks can provide feedback

A few things you need to know:

  • These sessions are for members only. All library staff in Ohio have access to Homelessness Training and webinars via Niche Academy and are considered “members”.
  • These sessions will NOT be posted on Niche Academy. The Zoom recording will be available for 4 weeks for those who register for the session.
  • Pre-registration is required for each session.
  • All staff members, regardless of experience level, are invited to attend.

BONUS: To make these trainings more immersive and interactive, Ryan has created a private Facebook Group for members who would like to be REALLY involved in helping us with the redesign. The purpose of the group will be to ask questions and have discussions about the Core Training. It’s a temporary group and is completely voluntary. After you register for a session, you’ll be sent instructions for joining the group.

Schedule & registration links:

January 20, 2022
2:00 – 3:30  PM EST

Homelessness: Understanding individuals experiencing homelessness
Register: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/7015832712148/WN_2gIt5opjTgq5EGRXAYRDcQ

February 10, 2022
2:00 – 3:30  PM EST

Psychology: How psychology can help people to follow the rules voluntarily
Register: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/6316394935731/WN_kGZNq4qyT5eCQFj7I0Cg9A

March 10, 2022
2:00 – 3:30  PM EST

De-escalation Skills: Practical tools and techniques
Register: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/5016394938227/WN_VFxU_e_XT5Wd4SoR9UkfNw

Now is the chance to provide important feedback on the training redesign! They are looking forward to hearing your feedback and teaming with you on this important redesign.

If you have trouble accessing the training or upcoming webinars, email Erin Kelsey, Library Consultant at the State Library of Ohio at: ekelsey@library.ohio.gov.


Don’t have an account? If you work in a public or academic library, click here to create a  Niche Academy account.  Once in Niche Academy, you will be prompted to create an account.

Due to the measures taken stop the spread of COVID-19 Ryan Dowd is providing access to archived webinars available on Niche Academy. Each webinar is a separate module.

  • Advanced body language skills
  • Body odor: the most dreaded conversation.
  • Burnout, vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue
  • COVID: How to Deal With Problem Behaviors Related to COVID-19
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s: Compassionately and effectively working with people with dementia
  • Domestic violence and sexual assault (in libraries) featuring Miranda Dube
  • Getting Hit on by Customers: Women (and men) share their tools for stopping unwanted attention
  • Homeless Children and Libraries: Special Presentation with Lydia Sigwarth (author of the new book Dear Librarian)
  • Homelessness 201: Advanced understanding of individuals experiencing homelessness
  • Homelessness Q&A with Ryan (Parts 1 & 2)
  • Jerks with Homes: How to Deal with Members of the Public Who are Being Jerks About Homeless Folks
  • Managing frontline staff who work with homeless individuals
  • Ornery Teenagers: How to Compassionately and Effectively Manage Their Problem Behaviors
  • Police: How to reduce police calls and keep everyone safe in your organization
  • Prejudice: Responding to prejudicial comments from customers
  • Resolving Liberal vs. Conservative Conflict in the Workplace: Lessons from the Rwandan Genocide
  • Service Animals: Your Obligations Under the ADASupervisor Training: Tips for Managers
  • Traumatic Brain Injury: Invisible Cause of Homelessness
  • Unattended Children: How to talk to parents about their children’s behavior

Combined with the core training, this brings the courses up to almost 10 hours.

These were recorded live online, so the video quality is not quite as good as the core training. The plan is to go back and re-record them as higher quality videos, but with the current crisis we wanted to get them out quickly.