Awkward Conversations


 "Awkward Conversations & Difficult Situations: How to the Hardest Discussions with Patrons"
Part of a special Library 2.0 "Essential Librarian" series with Dr. Steve Albrecht


A 60-minute training webinar presented by Library 2.0 and hosted by ALA author and library service, safety, and security expert, Dr. Steve Albrecht.

Library life is full of moments that can make you scratch your head. There are more than a few times during the day when you say, to yourself or out loud, “Why did that patron just do or say that?” Some strange/odd/questionable things patrons do are small and don’t impact the business of the library too much; while 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 patrons 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 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 children, other patrons, or staffers.
  • The patron who we know has stolen something but refuses to return it. (Or a staffer or another patron has wrongly accused the patron of stealing something. Now what?)
  • The patron who lights up a cigarette or ignites a vape in the restroom (or in the stacks) and refuses to put it out.
  • A 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 exposes himself to staff or others.
  • 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.)
  • 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.


  • Defining “Crucial Conversations.”
  • Assessing a patrons behavior and it’s impact on the library: Is it simply irritating, a violation of our Code of Conduct, 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, a paramedic issue? Who else can you call?
  • Staying consistent with your enforcement goals. (Minimize the chance of a repeat performance later.)
  • Documenting the Security Incident Report with specific behaviors, not labels.

DATE: Thursday, February 24, 2022, at 2:00 pm Eastern Time


  • $99/person - includes any-time access to the recording and the presentation slides and to receive a participation certificate. To arrange group discounts (see below), to submit a purchase order, or for any registration difficulties or questions, email
  • FREE for those on individual or group all-access passes (see below).

TO REGISTER: Click HERE. You will first need to be a member of Library 2.0 (free) and be logged in. Please click "Sign Up" on the top right and we'll approve you quickly. You can pay by PayPal or credit card, and will receive immediate and permanent access to the webinar recording. If you have any trouble registering for a webinar, if you need to be invoiced, or if you have any questions, please email NOTE: please check your spam folder if you don't receive your confirmation email right away.

SPECIAL GROUP RATES (email to arrange):

  • Multiple individual log-ins and access from the same organization paid together: $75 each for 3+ registrations, $65 each for 5+ registrations.
  • The ability to show the webinar (live or recorded) to a group located in the same physical location or in the same virtual meeting from one log-in: $299.
  • Large-scale institutional access for viewing with individual login capability: $499.


  • All-access annual passes include access to the recordings of all of Dr. Albrecht's previous Library 2.0 webinars, plus live and recorded access to his new webinars for one year.
  • For a $499 individual all-access annual pass to all of Dr. Albrecht's live webinars and recordings for one year, please click here
  • Inquiries for all-access organizational contracts should be directed to


Since 2000, Dr. Steve Albrecht has trained thousands of library employees in 25+ 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. He is currently writing the sequel, The Safe Library: Keeping Staff and Patrons Secure in a Changing World.

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 24 books on business, security, and leadership topics. He lives with seven dogs, two cats, and three chickens.