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 2021). 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 Evan Struble at the State Library of Ohio at estruble@library.ohio.gov.

Upcoming Webinar

Prejudice: Responding to prejudicial comments from customers


Some of the issues covered:

  • Why most approaches to confronting prejudice actually increase prejudice (according to research!).
  • How to use a “Peanut Butter Opener” with people who might react aggressively.
  • Fifteen strategies to choose from depending on who the person is.

 NOTE:  This training focuses on addressing prejudicial comments from customers/patrons/clients.  It is not designed to help you draft policies or more broadly create an anti-racist organization.  Those would be great topics, but they are beyond the scope of what we can cover in 90 minutes

When:Thursday, April 8 at 2:00 PM EST

Length: 1 Hour

Pre-Registration Required: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/3015832712254/WN_LWBiOqgoSP-Y1ort0XdWwQ

Workbook: Emailed from ryan@homelesslibrary.com on Wednesday, April 7

Anyone who misses a live event can watch it (with close captioning) on Niche Academy a few days later. Access  recordings at Niche Academy.


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
  • 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
  • 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

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.