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The Maryland State Library (MSL) has purchased a license to Ryan Dowd's "Librarian's Guide to Homelessness" training package through Niche Academy. The license includes the Core Training and stand-alone webinars. Access to the training package is available through Oct. 31, 2021. (The license may be renewed.)

Core Training

Information excerpted from the MSL Announcement:

"The total training time including activities is approximately 4 hours, but the training is presented in short video clips that make it easy to participate over time. Niche Academy tracks your progress so you can simply pick up where you left off.

Public Library Staff can earn contact hours (CE Credit = 4 hours) by completing the training. You will need to document your participation by completing the Downloadable Notes and successfully passing the Quiz at 94%.  Both can be printed while participating in the training. The staff development coordinator in your library system oversees the approval process for this course."


Staff at USMAI member libraries are able to attend Ryan Dowd's Premium Webinars. (Stay tuned for information about signing up to receive the access information for these webinars through USMAI. In the meantime, you can sign up to receive the info directly from the Homelessness Training Institute using this form.)

Recordings of the Premium Webinars are added to the Niche Academy training package after they have aired. A sampling of titles:

  • Managing Front-line Staff Who Work With Homeless Individuals
  • Burnout, Vicarious Trauma, and Compassion Fatigue
  • Advanced Body Language Skills​
  • Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Issues (in libraries) featuring Miranda Dube
  • Homelessness 201: Advanced Understanding of Individuals Experiencing Homelessness
  • Body Odor: The Most Dreaded Conversation
  • 1 Hour Q&A with Ryan (Parts 1 & 2)
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • COVID: How to Deal with Problem Behaviors Related to COVID-19
  • Dementia and Alzheimer's
  • Ornery Teenagers: How to compassionately and effectively manage their problem behaviors
  • Burnout and Stress: Strategies in case 2021 is as bad as 2020
  • Jerks with Homes: How to deal with members of the public who are being jerks about homeless folks

Recordings of Homeless Training Institute Premium Webinars, which build upon the core training, are also available through Niche Academy.


From the MSL announcement:

You will need to create a Niche Academy account with username and password so that you are officially enrolled in the training. You can get an account and start your training from this URL:

Questions? Contact Nini Beegan, Maryland State Library,

This project is supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act Administered by the Maryland State Library.