January 12, 2018  |  264 pages
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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.

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