The Librarian's Guide to Homelessness: An Empathy-Driven Approach to Solving Problems, Preventing Conflict, and Serving Everyone

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$57.00
ALA Member: 
$ 51.30
Item Number: 
978-0-8389-1626-1
Published: 
2018
Publisher: 
ALA Editions
Pages: 
264
Width: 
7"
Height: 
10"
Format: 
Softcover
AP Categories: 
A, C, I
  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the Author

Read an interview with the author and watch a video of a reading from the book!

Homelessness is a perennial topic of concern at libraries. In fact, staff at public libraries interact with almost as many homeless individuals as staff at shelters do. Empathy and understanding, along with specific actionable advice that’s drawn from experience, makes all the difference in working with this group. In this book Dowd, executive director of a homeless shelter, spotlights best practices drawn from his own shelter’s policies and training materials. Filled with to-the-point guidance that will help frontline public library staff and managers understand and serve this population better, this resource

  • includes facts about homelessness every librarian should know;
  • debunks widespread myths about these individuals, explaining how they see themselves, what issues they struggle with, and how libraries can shift towards supporting them;
  • shares de-escalation techniques like showing respect, ways to avoid making things personal, and using proper body language;
  • walks readers through dealing with common issues like a sleeping patron, questionable hygiene, offensive behavior, and asking a patron to leave; and
  • advises on how to provide backup to a colleague and when to call the police.

Filled with real life stories that illustrate the effectiveness of Dowd’s approach, this one-of-a-kind guide will empower library staff to treat homeless individuals with dignity.

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Who Am I? Who Are You?

Part I    Homelessness and Empathy

  • Chapter 1    Top Ten Homeless Myths
  • Chapter 2    Homeless People Are (Not) Just like You
  • Chapter 3    Empathy: The Psychological, Neurological, and Social Bases for It

Part II        Empathy-Driven Enforcement

  • Chapter 4    Empathy vs. Punishment
  • Chapter 5    Step 1: Your Head Tools
  • Chapter 6    Step 2: Your Body Tools  
  • Chapter 7    Step 3: Your Word Tools  
  • Chapter 8    Advanced Tools

Part III    Special Situations

  • Chapter 9    Everyday Predicaments
  • Chapter 10    Mental Illness
  • Chapter 11    Substance Abuse
  • Chapter 12    Hygiene
  • Chapter 13    Sleeping
  • Chapter 14    Possessions
  • Chapter 15    Children

Part IV    Beyond Problem-Solving

  • Chapter 16    Advice for Managers and Leaders
  • Chapter 17    How Best to Help Homeless Patrons

The End of Homelessness
Appendix    Key Phrases
Index

Ryan J. Dowd

Ryan J. Dowd has spent most of his career as Executive Director of a large homeless shelter near Chicago. In addition, he trains organizations around the globe (including libraries, homeless shelters, and hospitals) on how to use empathy-driven enforcement with homeless individuals. For more information, visit http://www.homelesslibrary.com.