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.

UPCOMING EVENTS

March 7, 2024

BLOG POSTS

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

Some people know right away they want to be in charge at their jobs, often as soon as they get them or soon after. They see their personal career path ahead of them and their current job may be right where they want to be - already in a director, manager, or supervisor position - or they know how they want to go about getting into one of those leadership roles. Other employees just like doing what they were hired to do and have no desire to ever become a supervisor or manager. This is no sin and certainly not a reflection on them. Successful organizations need that right mix of employees who want to take on leadership, “managership,” and frontline supervisory roles, along with employees who just want to do the work they were hired to do. 

The plain truth is that becoming a boss means that you actually move further away from the original work you were once hired to do and more into supervising other people doing their work. If you hired on as a Drill Press Operator 3 and worked your way up through the ranks to be the Drill Press Operator Supervisor, guess what you mostly stop doing? Drilling holes.

As you step away from your original role, your work becomes more about solving employee performance or behavior issues, addressing patron behavioral problems, or handling patron service and information concerns. Depending on the size of your library and its workforce (and how shorthanded you are), you may be asked to contribute to policy change discussions, budget details, or take on new projects that have a lot of moving parts and complexities. 

You may have to initiate discipline against your former co-workers or craft a performance evaluation for them. You may have to supervise colleagues who are also your good friends or tell the ones who are not fans of yours how, when, and where to do their jobs. Challenges abound.

Employees who choose to stay in their same job for many years often say some version of, “I don’t want all the hassles that come with being a supervisor. The extra pay is not worth the extra work. I don’t like telling people who are my friends what to do. I don’t want to have any `homework’ to do or think about after my shift is over.” And that approach is fine, as long as every employee who does want to promote is given the information, steps, and fair opportunity to do so if they want to.

So how should you go about preparing your successful move from a staff position to the PIC position?

Know the full job description and all of the job duties. Compare your current status - overall work experience (every job you’ve had and how might those have prepared you for this one), supervisory experience (if any), certifications, and work history in different libraries. 

Be honest and accurate in your assessment of your strengths and weaknesses as a potential supervisor. Are there some areas that you may feel might hold you back from taking the job and/or being successful at it? No one likes conflict with patrons or co-workers, but can you step forward and handle those scenarios with courage? Do you prefer to work off the library floor, away from the public? Will you feel comfortable handling potential medical or facility emergencies? Are you willing to be called after work hours if you are in charge of the facility over the weekend?

Do you enjoy the challenge of problem-solving on behalf of the patrons and your co-workers? Do you feel comfortable writing after-action reports, planning projects, delegating work to others, and supervising their success, quality, and deadlines? Can you write fair and honest performance evaluations? Is your personal life set up so you can come in on nights, weekends, or your days off to address certain situations? 

Ask to do that job for a day, a week, or a month. Meet with your supervisor and discuss your career plans. Ask him or her for help with two distinct points: Can you be given more responsibility and delegated tasks, especially in those areas where you need more exposure, knowledge (through both training and hands-on learning), or experience? Can you either shadow the current PICs, to see how they do the work, or can you be put into the PIC role for a test run - a day, a week, a month?

Giving a speech at a university in 1854, French microbiologist and chemist Louis Pasteur said, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” His contributions to the sciences of vaccination, microbial fermentation, and pasteurization are unmatched. To move to the next level in your career, prepare by putting yourself in the right position. 

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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

Additionally:

"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."

WEBINARS

PODCASTS

BLOG POSTS

DEALING WITH CHALLENGING PATRONS - UNLIMITED STAFF TRAINING VIDEO

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.

PURCHASE HERE