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

In September the State Library of Ohio 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 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, library consultant at the State Library of Ohio at ekelsey@library.ohio.gov.

The next live webinar:  Getting Hit on by Customers: Women (and men) share their tools for stopping unwanted attention

When: September 17 at 2:00 pm Eastern Time (ET)

Length: 1 Hour

Some of the issues covered:

  • How to address compliments about your body, overly personal questions and demeaning terms (“Hey doll!”)
  • How to stop unwanted touching
  • What to do when empathy backfires

Pre-Registration Required:


Anyone who misses a live event can watch it on Niche Academy a few days later.

If you have trouble accessing the training or September 17 webinar, email Erin Kelsey, library consultant at the State Library of Ohio at ekelsey@library.ohio.gov.

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.

  • Managing frontline staff who work with homeless individuals
  • Burnout, vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue
  • Advanced body language skills
  • Domestic violence and sexual assault (in libraries) featuring Miranda Dube
  • Homelessness 201: Advanced understanding of individuals experiencing homelessness
  • Body odor: the most dreaded conversation.
  • Homelessness Q&A with Ryan
  • Supervisor 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.