Rapid City Library staff learns to interact with homeless

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV )- The Rapid City Public Library staff tales part in a new training program that isn't just helping them, it's also strengthening the community.

Employees partake in a three-hour online training course to learn how to handle certain situations properly.

Since April, the library has taken on a new program called "Librarian's Guide to Homelessness Training" by Ryan Dowd.

"Prevent a bad behavior from happening just by talking with that person for a couple of minutes you're actually saving yourself a lot of time," says Education and Technology coordinator Casey Martin.

The two primary components of the program concentrate on empathy and voluntary compliance.

"Just from working with the homeless population I know they are sensitive to the idea that someone is going to judge them based on their appearance," says Hope Center Executive Director Melanie Timm.

The online training program takes about three hours to complete. Once all of the course sections are finished, employees take an exam and then practice what they learned in their staff meetings.

"We want to make sure that we're offering the best service possible. As far as patrons it has reduced the number of conflicts which I think is really positive," says Martin.

Martin says employees appreciate the program because it allows them to learn how to properly handle difficult situations with the community, while also growing as an employee.

"Take that material in process, digest it, and actually use it in some circumstances. Including some of our younger patrons," says Martin.

The staff at the library says the training program is very successful, and it has helped them build their relationship within the community.