Awkward Conversations & Difficult Situations:
How to Handle the Hardest Discussions with Patrons
(2023 Updated Version)
Part of the Library 2.0 Service, Safety, and Security Series with Dr. Steve Albrecht
Library life is full of challenging moments. Some things patrons do don’t impact the business of the library too much. Others are serious enough to require a banning, a security guard escort out of the building, a police call, or at worst, closing the library because the patron has done something dangerous. This webinar is all about how to handle challenging discussions with patrons when it's clear they need to stop doing or saying something, or they need to leave before you’re forced to take certain steps to get them out of the library.
The list of awkward encounters is as long as your years of experience working in libraries or in customer or taxpayer-contact jobs. Do any of these sound familiar?
- The protester who is mad about one or more political issues and refuses to stop filming, taking photos, confronting other patrons, or arguing with staff.
- The patron who refuses to leave as the library is closing.
- The patron who locks himself or herself in the public restroom (or manages to get in the back office and won’t come out of the staff restroom).
- The patron who won’t stop staring at or touching other patrons or staffers.
- The patron who we know has stolen something but refuses to return it.
- The patron who ignites a marijuana vape in the restroom (or in the stacks) and refuses to put it out.
- The patron who won’t stop making racist, sexist, or homophobic remarks, or telling dirty jokes, and cites his “Constitutional right to free speech.”
- The patron who intentionally views pornography or child pornography, in front of others. (Guess what? He’s not using your Internet; it’s on his own tablet, phone, or in his magazine.)
- Defining “Crucial Conversations.”
- Assessing a patron's behavior and its impact on the library: Is it simply eccentric, irritating, or a true violation of our Code of Conduct? Is it unsafe, illegal, or dangerous?
- Ramping up your assertiveness, alone or with your colleagues. (How to stop rationalizing irrational patron behaviors.)
- Is it a police issue, a fire department issue, or a paramedic issue? Or maybe a social worker issue?
- Staying consistent with your goals of a “Negotiated Behavioral Agreement.” (Minimize the chance of a repeat performance later.)
- Documenting the Security Incident Report with specific behaviors, not labels.
This 60-minute training webinar is presented by Library 2.0 and hosted by ALA author and library service, safety, and security expert, Dr. Steve Albrecht. A handout copy of the presentation slides will be available to all who participate. This is an updated version of this webinar for 2023.
DATE: Thursday, October 19th, 2023, at 2:00 pm US - Eastern Time
- $99/person - includes any-time access to the recording and the presentation slides and receiving a participation certificate. To arrange group discounts (see below), to submit a purchase order, or for any registration difficulties or questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Since 2000, Dr. Steve Albrecht has trained thousands of library employees in 28+ states, live and online, in service, safety, and security. His programs are fast, entertaining, and provide tools that can be put to use immediately in the library workspace with all types of patrons.
In 2015, the ALA published his book, Library Security: Better Communication, Safer Facilities. His new book, The Safe Library: Keeping Users, Staff, and Collections Secure, was just published by Rowman & Littlefield.
Steve holds a doctoral degree in Business Administration (D.B.A.), an M.A. in Security Management, a B.A. in English, and a B.S. in Psychology. He is board-certified in HR, security management, employee coaching, and threat assessment.
He has written 25 books on business, security, and leadership topics. He lives in Springfield, Missouri, with six dogs and two cats.
More information at TheSafeLibrary.com.