Complaints About Content

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 "Handling Complaints or Protests About Content: Service, Security, and Training for All Staff and Library Leaders"
Part of the Library 2.0 Series Presented by Barry Trott, MSLS, hosted by Dr. Steve Albrecht


How do we safely and carefully handle one or more angry or outraged patrons who complain about items (books, films, magazines, CDs, etc.) in our library?

This 60-minute training webinar is presented by Library 2.0 and ALA author and library service, safety, and security expert, Dr. Steve Albrecht. Steve will be hosting Barry Trott, Adult Services Consultant with the Library of Virginia, to explore tools and training that can help when you have complaints about library collections.

Barry says, “Book challenges are on the rise in all sorts of libraries. Being prepared to handle questions about library materials will involve more than the library director and other administrators. Often, complaints need to be first handled by frontline staff. To keep these protests from growing into a major media crisis, it’s important that public services staff know how to handle user complaints. This issue requires more than just passing the angry patrons up the chain of command. It’s essential to have a well-thought-out process for staff to rely on. This webinar will help all library employees feel more empowered during these encounters.”

This overview session is another in our Library 2.0 series for all library staff and library leaders to respond with tact and skill when it comes to complaints about what one or more patrons thinks is inappropriate content in the library. This webinar will also discuss how to handle the security issues and media management related to an organized protest about potentially controversial materials, both in or near your library.


  • Being prepared before the challenge comes; not developing policy and procedures on the fly.
  • Knowing that challenges to materials will come from all sides, even unexpected people/groups.
  • Developing a set of procedures on how patrons' content complaints should proceed.
  • Solving the problem at the lowest level possible. Often frontline staff can avert a bigger problem simply by listening, but they need to be trained.
  • Notifying the Library Director when a complaint is made, even if it seems that it was resolved at the time it was made. Not letting your boss be surprised.
  • Listening with empathy when a patron has a complaint. Not trying to defend the item (it's not an educable moment) and not making any absolute commitments until later.
  • Using “Request for Reconsideration” letters.
  • Informing your Library Board and/or elected officials.
  • Handling media interviews or information requests.
  • Facility security issues.

DATE: Thursday, June 30, 2022, 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
  • FREE for those on individual or group all-access passes (see below).


Click above to pay. You can pay by credit card, and will receive an email within a day with information on how to attend the webinar live and then your 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 (hosted either at Library 2.0 or in Niche Academy).


  • 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. These are hosted either at Library 2.0 or Niche Academy (if preferred).
  • 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
MSLS Adult Services Consultant
Library Development and Networking Division
Library of Virginia

Since 2000, Dr. Steve Albrecht has trained thousands of library employees in 28+ states, live and online, in service, safety, security, and supervision. 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 Users, Staff, and Collections Secure, for 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 24 books on business, security, and leadership topics. He lives with six dogs, two cats, and three chickens. (Not all in the same room, of course.)