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Serving Homeless Individuals and Families in Libraries: Librarians' Guide to the Homeless

Resources to support library staff's work with homeless patrons, including referral and resources to facilitate interpersonal interactions.

Librarian’s Guide to the Homeless

Librarian’s Guide to the Homeless: Reduce problems and conflict, while still being inclusive.

The Librarian’s Guide to the Homeless web site is owned and managed by Ryan Dowd. It has some free online resources including Ryan’s Quick Advice.

Another free resource is a subscription to weekly tips by email from Ryan on how library staff can work with homeless, addicted and mentally ill patrons.  Sign up on the website under Start Here.

One library staff member can take a free online course. (Check with the library director about who should take the course.)

Dowd is available for onsite training. If you would like a price quote for your library and/or a trial membership for one staff member to evaluate the training, click on Course from the website.

Dowd's book (see below) is available through Ocean State Libraries or for purchase from ALA.

Ryan Dowd is the Executive Director of a large homeless shelter outside of Chicago, Illinois. He is an attorney. He regularly travels the country training libraries, police departments, schools and other organizations on how to work compassionately with difficult homeless individuals.

The Public : a film


The Public is film written and directed by Emilio Estevez.

The film is available through Ocean State Libraries in DVD and Blu-Ray formats.

Discussion Guide for Emilio Estevez's Film The Public

Emilio Estevez and Ryan Dowd created a guide for facilitating a discussion about The Public.