Month: June 2018

High Plains Library District Hosts Community Training: Compassionate Communication for Problematic Behavior

(Greeley– June, 2018) –  Homelessness is a growing concern in many communities – especially ones experiencing rapid growth. With growth comes the unintended consequence of a limited affordable housing and fewer jobs. The community impact translates to an increase in homeless and/or transient populations.

Understating how to work with these populations is critical to the overall welfare of a community. As a cornerstone agency serving people from all walks of life and backgrounds, the High Plains Library District recognized the need for training that provides library staff and community members with tools to engage people experiencing homelessness, mental illness and addiction.

High Plains, with support from the City of Greeley and United Way of Weld County, offered a training presented by Ryan Dowd, Executive Director of one of Chicago’s largest homeless shelters. His training teaches specific techniques and tools for compassionately and effectively addressing people experiencing homelessness. His training provides library staff and community members with a deeper understanding of homelessness and teach attendees how to use empathy-driven enforcement of rules rather than punishment-driven enforcement; gain power and confidence to solve problems by preparing for them, solving them as early as possible, and using mindset tools, pre-conflict tools, non-verbal tools, verbal tools and crisis tools when working with these vulnerable populations.

Dowd regularly travels the country training libraries, law enforcement agencies, schools and other organizations on how to work compassionately with difficult homeless individuals. Dowd also offers an online training “Practical Tips for Difficult Homeless Patrons” and is the author of “The Librarians Guide to Homelessness.”


The High Plains Library District connects communities to information, inspiration and entertainment for life. HPLD includes libraries in Greeley, Evans, Firestone, Erie, Kersey, Ault, Eaton, Johnstown, Platteville, Hudson, Fort Lupton and Gilcrest.