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Librarian's Guide to Homelessness

This training provides insight and practical tools for library staff who encounter people living with homelessness.

Course overview

The Librarian's Guide to Homelessness is a self-paced online training program for public library staff. It teaches staff how to confidently and compassionately solve problem behaviour from individuals.

The training is provided by Ryan Dowd, Executive Director of Hesed House, a large homeless shelter outside of Chicago, Illinois and author of The Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness (published by the American Library Association). 

Who is this course for?  

This course is for staff working in NSW public libraries. It will suit all levels of staff including new public library staff and those seeking to refresh their knowledge.

If you are not working in public libraries, information about other courses available at the State Library of NSW can be accessed here.

Course delivery 

This is a self-paced online course. The core training takes about 3.5 hours to complete, however there are over 10 more hours of training with topic specific modules which people are also encouraged to complete.

Participants do not need to complete the training in one go as it is divided into modules. 

To register, please email Ellen Forsyth. Up to five staff per library service can register. When you register, please confirm you have permission from your manager to participate.

If you would like more than five spaces for your library please contact Ellen. 

Contact Ellen to register 

Learning outcomes

At the end of the session, the participants will be able to:

  • Understand the homeless experience.
  • Recognise that threats and punishment are ineffective with patrons experiencing homelessness.
  • Learn how to use the tools and skills of “Empathy-Driven Enforcement”.

What's included?

  • Access to all training material
  • Training certificate


The State Library has purchased access to this course. There is no cost to NSW public library staff.

Course dates

There will be access to the training until 15 December 2021.