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.



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 Your Library Team CPR and AED Trained?

By Dr. Steve Albrecht

In most cities, firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs go on three types of calls most often: car accidents, which may involve the use of tourniquets; opiate or fentanyl drug overdoses (usually involving people under age 30); and cardiac arrests (usually involving people over 50). These last two events will almost always require them to perform CPR and hook the person up to a portable defibrillator, known as an AED machine.

If you learned how to do CPR many decades ago - like me - you’re probably doing it wrong if you had to do it today. Modern CPR is all about doing chest compressions, correctly, quickly, and at the right speed and depth. Rescue breathing is no longer part of the cardiac arrest response. (Back in the 80s when I first learned it, they taught us to to give the cardiac victim a solid whack on the chest if we witnessed them go down. Known as a ”precordial thump,” it was supposed to help restart a still heart. We DO NOT do those anymore, thank goodness. “Hey! Why did you just punch me in the ribs? I was taking a nap on the couch!”)

The move away from rescue breathing - putting your mouth over the patient’s mouth, pinching his or her nose shut, and expanding his or her lungs with a short one-second breath - which fell out of favor during the AIDS/HIV crisis and during the COVID pandemic, was also because research suggested it was not as effective as doing chest compressions. It’s still recommended for people who have had drug overdoses or for kids who have drowned or have choked on an object and who are not breathing once the object is dislodged. You’re not giving a full lung-exploding breath, just one second of air, done twice, then go immediately back to CPR compressions.

Modern CPR realizes that oxygen to the lungs is not as important as blood to the brain and other vital organs. Chest compressions, done at a brisk rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute (and allowing the heart to refill with blood by doing a complete up and down movement), can save the person’s life and brain function. There are CPR apps you can put on your smartphone, that will give you a tone to help match the compression rate. The usual model CPR people use is to do chest compressions at a rate matching the tempo of the Bee Gee’s 1977 hit song, “Stayin’ Alive.” (“Row, Row, Row Your Boat” also works.)

Automatic Electronic Defibrilators

These machines are found in many logical places: gyms, government buildings, malls, sports stadiums, and concert arenas, just to name a few. Besides the device itself, the boxes (or bags) that contain the kit include scissors - to cut the patient’s clothing away, no time for modesty here; it’s about trying to save a life. The kit may also include gauze, to wipe away the person’s sweat, to help the pads stick better, and a small razor, in case you’ll need to shave away a lot of body hair, again, to help the pads stick better.

The two AED peel and stick pads are clearly marked. For adults, one goes on the high right side of the person’s chest; the other goes across and around the person’s lower left chest area. For infants and small children, one pad goes on the child’s mid-back and one across the child’s chest.
Some AEDs are automatic, meaning the machine warns everyone to not touch the patient prior to delivering the shock itself. Others are semi-automatic, meaning you have to push the shock button yourself, on the machine’s command.

Once you turn on the machine, it will walk you through the necessary steps, including where to place the two sticky pads (after peeling off the plastic backing first), when to start CPR compressions, when to stop and let the machine take heart rate readings - to either prepare you to press the button to give another shock if the patient is in ventricular fibrilliation (a/k/a “vfib”) or continue CPR until fire, paramedics, or EMTs arrive.

Good Samaritan’s Laws are the same in all 50 states. As long as you are not intentionally doing harm, you cannot be held liable for any medical outcomes. As the EMT who taught my recertification class put it, “There are no 'CPR Police.' Do the best you can with the compressions, follow the instructions of the AED until help arrives and you will be fine. Something you do for the person is better than doing nothing for the person.”

Some questions for library leaders:

  • Does your library have an AED machine?
  • If you’re in a multi-story building, is there one on each floor?
  • Has all staff been trained in CPR techniques for adults, children, and infants and AED machine use?

You can get free initial and refresher trainings for your staff by contacting your local fire agency, local hospital, local Red Cross office, or your nearest American Heart Association office.


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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.