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.


July 25, 2024

August 1, 2024

August 8, 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.

By Dr. Steve Albrecht

Here’s a tweet I sent out on September 28, 2022, about several libraries in the US closing because of “unspecified threats.”

I work in threat assessment and workplace violence prevention. I’ve trained thousands of library employees for over 22 years. I always recommend not closing based on these types of threats, because it just encourages more. The threat makers need to learn they can’t control libraries.

That tweet led to my meeting library journalist Claire Woodcock. She wrote a piece for Motherboard Tech by VICE, which ran online on October 18, 2022: “Libraries Are Beefing Up Security After a Series of Violent Threats: Some librarians are trying to protect patrons without increasing the presence of police and security guards.” (https://bit.ly/3Bk9yym

Here’s my contribution to her story:

Although the ALA does not have a set of policies and procedures for library safety and security, the organization does work with a handful of consultants who specialize in library security. Steve Albrecht, according to many, is one of the only games in town. He says that the more detailed a threat, the more likely it is to be credible, but does not advocate for closing a facility if a threat is received. 

"We find out about bombs in this country after they go off and lots of people make bomb threats, where there are no bombs, and I think we overreact to bomb threats because we are conditioned to shut everything down," Albrecht, a former police officer, told Motherboard. "I don't mean we don't look for a real device or don't pay attention or don't call the police. But I'm saying it's not always our first option."

Albrecht advocates for librarians to undergo training that teaches them how to work with law enforcement. He says he advises the library director, security manager, facilities director, and a department head who needs to make decisions on behalf of the staff to know about and respond to an incident. "I'm trying to make it so that people want to feel safe and enjoy their jobs and feel like they have some tools," he added. "That their management has the facts and understands what they're trying to do."

In a recent Library 2.0 webinar, where I was speaking about so-called First Amendment “Auditors” (their own-self created title, don’t forget), I advised libraries to respond to these highly-disruptive people in their facilities or board meetings as follows.

Assess all threats, protests, angry confrontations, or other negative encounters with these individuals or groups, using a team-based approach. You should already have a team in place. Whether you call it a Threat Assessment Team, a Critical Incident Team, or a Safety and Security Team, the name doesn’t matter as much as the members.

You need to be able to gather together your safety and security stakeholders: the Library Director; his and her staff of other leaders; the HR Director/Manager; the Security Director/Manager (if that role exists in your library, system, or district); the Facilities and/or Maintenance Director/Manager; the IT Director/Manager; the library’s legal counsel; the person who provides public outreach or crisis communication; and any other department head, manager, or supervisor who can provide useful insight, experience, or information as to the threat being posed. The knowledge and skills of this group can create a more calming influence on the issue and make safer, legal, and more effective decisions and plans.

You should request a law enforcement response to all incidents from a ranking member of your local agency, preferably a lieutenant or above. The first one or two patrol officers or patrol deputies who respond initially may not know a lot about the tactics of these First Amendment “Auditors,” and may escalate the situation by arguing with them or trying to make an arrest that is not actually legal.

All staff needs awareness-building training and to be reminded to have “polite patience” and the confidence to say and do the right things when confronted by individuals or groups of protesters. These First Amendment “Auditors” (FAAs) will want to argue with them; question their motives and abilities; or debate the law, Code of Conduct, or library use or materials policies. (This is never a good idea, since there is no winning this debate.) All staff need to remember to be neutral while these FAAs are making a video record of their encounters for later posting on social media sites.

Lastly, “Stay Your Course.” Keep on doing the right thing, for your library, your staff, your patrons, and the various diverse communities you serve. One angry person with a sign or a cell phone or a group with a video camera and loud tones shouldn’t be able to speak as though they represent the views of every citizen. Many of your supporters don’t agree with the intimidating and rude tactics of these First Amendment “Auditors.” Continue to be the shepherds for your facilities, your collections, your employees, and your patrons.

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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.