Welcome to The Safe Library: Dr. Albrecht's Library 2.0 Service, Safety, and Security Resources

Our Library 2.0 "Safe Library" training programs for library staffers and leaders cover service, security, safety, supervision, and even a little stress management. Our goal is to help to keep all library employees physically and psychologically safe, making it easier for them to serve all patrons in their facilities.

Dr. Albrecht's podcast recordings and feed are to the right, and following immediately below that is a full list of his blog posts. A full list of paid webinars is to the left.


May 9th, 2024


Dr. Albrecht's blog posts are below. One of the features of his blog is "ASK DR. STEVE," where readers submit questions and he answers them. To submit a question for Dr. Steve, please email askdrsteve@library20.com.

Is There Hidden Bias at Your Library?

By Dr. Steve Albrecht

There is much discussion in the media and the workplace about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, or DEI. (Library 2.0 has a recorded webinar on DEI, presented by Dr. Karla Rhay, available for individual or group purchase.) DEI describes a collection of sought-after behaviors that provide for fairness in our hiring processes, supervision, and promotion of all employees. It seeks to provide equal opportunities and support for employees in what are called "protected classes." Most of us are in at least one: age (over 40); race; country of origin; gender; gender identity, sexual orientation; veteran status; religious or political beliefs; physical or psychological disabilities; health conditions; and pregnancy--just to name a few. DEI training programs seek to build awareness about past discriminatory practices, level the playing field of employment and promotion, and increase the creativity, problem-solving, and success of the organization, by bringing in different people who offer different viewpoints.

Part of the DEI training discussion includes the realities of our biases and the assumptions we make about each other, which are often based on sweeping generalizations or a negative encounter with one individual who certainly does not represent the larger population of a particular group. These biases often come from our environment and our exposure to what we are told to think about people different from us by our parents, family, friends, school interactions, or workplaces. They are often defined as "confirmation biases," where our negative encounters with people in any of the protected classes lead us to generalize and thereby seek to confirm, "that's how those people are." We all have our biases and part of DEI awareness-building is to change our thinking about how we perceive others. This takes effort, but the resulting changes in our perceptions can lead us to a better understanding, fairer treatment, patience, empathy, and acceptance.

We know that biases exist in our personal and professional lives. It has been illegal for many decades for companies to use biases to discriminate against people during hiring, and how they are supervised or promoted. It's unethical and can subject an organization to a civil suit. The problem with bias is that it can be subtle. When it's about skin color or gender, it's obviously wrong; when it's about bias connected to perceptions of performance, it can be nearly as harmful but less obvious. Consider if you have seen or experienced (or worse, used) any of these forms of perceptional bias at a library where you work or have worked:

Age bias – "This employee is too old or too young to do this new type of work or to figure out this complex technical equipment, or process this type of information. He or she is too old to learn new things or too young to know how to operate the way we do here or to figure it out." The assumption here is that this is a permanent condition, that they won't be able to learn it.

Experience bias – "This employee lacks the life or work experience to do what we are asking. He or she hasn't done this job or this type of work and doesn't have the technical expertise, know-how, or `time in grade.’" The assumption here is because they haven't done it before elsewhere, they won't have the capacity to learn it here.

Appearance bias – "This employee doesn't `look like' what we want our library staff to look like." This bias is often based on seeing people only by what they look like – especially if it involves how they express their creativity with hairstyles, tattoos, piercings, or clothing choices.

Motivation bias – "This employee doesn't seem to care. He or she is kind of a loner, doesn't jump into group projects, has a `lousy attitude,' seems to be standoffish, and doesn't seem to want to take on new challenges." This assumption may not consider this employee is introverted, prefers to work alone, and may even be burned out because he or she has not been praised, supported, challenged, heard, or fairly managed.

Success bias – What we predict about an employee's success in the organization often occurs because we manage him or her to that expectation. "He's probably not going to do very well" comes true, as does, "She's going to do very well here." This bias comes because of a pre-conceived notion of predicted success. Some managers and supervisors can make this one come true by what they do or don't do for their employees, right at the start.

Recognizing workplace biases is half the issue. The other half requires a commitment to see they are eliminated and that we hire, promote, and manage all library employees fairly, ethically, and equally. The adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover," means we should stop perception bias, set high performance and behavioral standards, provide opportunities for all employees to prove themselves, and coach them toward a level of success that satisfies them and the library organization.

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Dr. Steve Albrecht

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 on The Safe Library at thesafelibrary.com. Follow on X (Twitter) at @thesafelibrary and on YouTube @thesafelibrary. Dr. Albrecht's professional website is drstevealbrecht.com.

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Praise for Dr. Albrecht

"Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for presenting at our staff development day. Our staff has expressed their appreciation for the information and tools you provided. We know the lessons learned will be useful in our day-to-day work. It was a pleasure to have you with us -- even if it was only virtually." - Athens, GA Library

"I wanted to thank you for the session. My husband was listening from the other room and said, 'Wow, that was great!' This was the best library workshop I've been to, and I've been to a lot! The staff was saying the same in emails." - Emily from MI

"Your suggestions of what to say to challenging patrons will really help me once we allow patrons back into the library. Thanks!" - Lori from IL

"Not only have I learned incredibly valuable skills to use in my career as a public librarian, those lessons will have a ripple effect as I teach a course on Social Crisis Management... I always give Dr. Albrecht the credit in the portions of my lecture and presentation.  And have first hand experiences using these lessons to support his approach. Thanks again for lending your expertise to ensure that as librarians we can remain safe, keep our customers safe and still deliver on our mission and the meaningful work we do each day." - Jen 

"You helped to keep my brain from turning into mush during this long time off. Thank you!" - C. from MO

"I was able to view Library Safety and Security and Interacting with the Homeless. I learned so much and appreciate the education you offered.  I became aware of changes, large and small that I can make in my life to enhance how I interact with all people. I do hope our library offers your classes in the future because I did not view all the webinars that I wanted to and I am sure my coworkers feel the same. Thank you again." - Vicki from VA

"I wanted to send you a note of thanks for your webinars... I watched 5 of them and found them to be incredibly informative. Currently I am working with my library's director to put together a situation response manual for safety and security matters that apply to our own library... What you have shared has been very useful to help set up some guidelines and decide a good direction for training within our organization. Thank you so much for sharing your insights." - Jennifer from IN

"Thank you for the great content. I appreciate it." - Carmen from MT

"[I] found [your webinars] extremely helpful and informative. Thanks again and stay safe!" - Christine from PA

"I remember when you came to our Annual Employee Training Session and presented a terrific class. I was able to view all of your webinars during this time and I learned so much. Your generosity of spirit during this pandemic is truly appreciated and your kindness will be remembered. Thanks again and Cheers." - Bernadette from CA

"We have watched a couple of [your webinars] in the past and they always provide a great approach to issues that are becoming more and more common in public libraries." - Rod from TX

"Your webinars were educational and inspiring." - Karen from GA

"I have recently watched all your webinars... (this begins to sound like a groupie saying, "I have all your records!") and I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from them. They were probably the best work at home professional development material I encountered in the two months my library has been closed. I've worked in public libraries since 1988 and everything you said makes sense in my experience. I look forward to putting what I learned from your webinars to use when we eventually reopen to the people the library exists for. Many thanks!" - Barbara from BC Canada

"I've learned a lot from your diverse offerings as I knew that I would. I listened to 4 of your webinars at this run. I also attended your talk last year at one of our branch libraries. I hope that your presentations remain in my mind and that your practical, philosophical and respectful methods of engagement can be brought forth in times of need." - Deborah from CA

"We don't always take the time to do online courses or participate in webinars because of time and money restraints. We have been lucky to have the time now to take advantage of these opportunities. Your webinars really pack a lot of info in the time allotted. Your observations and surveys conducted with staff across the country made this applicable and the reality. Many of the situations described sound like our day to day interactions with patrons. Again thank you so much for these valuable webinars. I hope we will be open soon and able to put your tips into practice." - Kathy from MD

"I’ve really enjoyed all of your webinars, especially the ones about security and challenging patrons, and I’ve gained some useful knowledge that I can utilize at my library. I hope you have a wonderful day! Thanks again!" - Deborah from OH

"You're the best of the best." - Nick from CA

"I have found your webinars especially helpful during this time of stay-at-home orders and the inability to report to work for my daily schedule. (My branch is closed indefinitely.) I have especially found "Interacting with the Homeless" and "Stress Management for Library Staff" as the most help to date. I have been doing daily meditation as a stress reliever and taking time to find happiness despite all that is taking place in this world.... having this opportunity to listen to your thought-processes is very invigorating and life-changing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart." - Danielle from MD

"[Y]ou've expanded our minds and helped us greatly with your generosity. Thank you for all that you do, I appreciate it immensely." - Valerie from TX

"Thank you very much for your work and very good webinar." - Donna from IN

"I appreciate your vast knowledge on patrons and safety situations." - Mary from IL

"I've long wanted to explore your work, and have enjoyed and learned from 4 of your webinars so far, with plans to view them all. They are excellent! I am charged with leading our staff around issues of safety and security in our rural system, and you are a clear and dynamic voice in our field. I really appreciate your experience, knowledge, and presentation style, down to talking fast to get the most information into the time of the presentation! Hopefully, I'll be able to obtain the new edition of your book soon, as I hope to keep these themes as relevant currents for the duration of my career." - Kimberlee from CA


"Thank you for your wonderful `Safety and Security in the Library' presentation. I so appreciate that you were able to join us virtually this year and share your knowledge on these topics with our library staff. I look forward to exploring some of the resources you shared with us."

"Thanks so much for recording the presentation. It was fantastic!"

"Thank you, Dr Steve, for your presentation today. It was very helpful and insightful. Your subtle humor also lightened the mood."

"I wanted to reach out and thank you for all the information that you gave in your webinar on conducting a library facility security assessment."





Watch Dr. Steve Albrecht on video and onstage, as he presents his safety and security workshop, "Dealing With Challenging Patrons" to a live library audience. 45 minutes for unlimited staff showings at a one-time $495 fee or included in any all-access pass program.