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.

Some Leadership Truths for Library Leaders

By Dr. Steve Albrecht

It's hard to know fully what library leaders need to do as the Coronavirus and the pandemic's impact go into the wretched history books. Leaders had better be able to adapt to new roles and different ways of supervising their people and running their operations. Being a library boss now sure looks different from even two years ago. Consider some of these leadership “truths:"

The higher you get, the less "work" you do. This seems untrue but it just is. Once you promote or rise to the top of your agency, you really get further away from the field. Some employees never want to promote because they like working where they are or doing what they are doing and don't want the responsibilities or the pleasures/hassles of supervising their peers and handling patron complaints. Once you start to move up the library ladder, you're doing lots of work to be sure, but it's different work than what you were first hired for or what you started doing.

There will never be enough time, resources, money, or people to do everything you need to do or want to do. So stop saying, "Where does the time go?" and make better use of the time you have. Free up your time by delegating more. If you're always going home tired and the people who work for you are never going home tired, you need to give them more to do. Budgets are always tight, staffing is rarely at full, and even when you have money and personnel, it doesn't feel like it's enough. Prioritize!

Remember Teddy Roosevelt. He said, "Do the best you can, with what you have, where you are." How about we modify his advice slightly, to say, "Do the best you can, with who you have, where you are." You can't always pick who works for you, but you can pick what they do for you. Make the best fits, between their KSAs (knowledge, skills, abilities) and what needs to get done. Don't hesitate to give your people new challenges, related but different job duties, and opportunities to succeed (or learn by failing, safely). That's how you identify who your future leaders are.

Don't ignore the Strength-Weakness Irony. This a human trait we all have, a concept some of us understand more intuitively, acutely, and externally than others. And it's one that we don't often see in ourselves: "Your strength, taken to an extreme, becomes a weakness." Whatever you're too good at can become a blind spot. 

Therapists define addiction as repetitive behavior that over time creates negative consequences. We can become overly-involved in things that can cause problems. (Notice how often we can spot this in others but not so much with ourselves.)

From a work perspective, the Strength-Weakness Irony often manifests itself in a huge time drain for you, where you get tied up in issues, problems, and events that are probably not even in your area of responsibility as a leader. See if you recognize yourself in some of these: 

Workaholism – If I said, "Hi. I'm Steve and I'm a workaholic," some of you might quickly shout "Hi Steve!” which means you're workaholics too. This is not a badge of honor. Even though it might seem like it's good for your career or your bank account, it's actually bad for your physical and mental health. 

"Super Boss" disease – "I'll take care of it. I'll handle it. Step aside! Boss coming through!" Your strength – you're hands-on – becomes a weakness and you slip into micromanager territory. Super Bosses have difficulty delegating and this leads their employees to believe they are not trusted to do their jobs. 

Perfectionism – "I need to make one more tweak to the PowerPoint before I send over the training slides" or "I'll have to go over this employee's report one more time with a red fine-tooth comb before I approve it." Sometimes, good enough is good enough. Bosses who seek perfection in all they create (and from what they expect from others) will be disappointed. Plus, it's a huge time waster. A library director was once asked by her staff to pick the trees to be planted in the green areas around the exterior of the building. She carefully researched her answers and provided her choices, two years later. 

"I can't say no." – This one is often connected to the others. When you demonstrate your workaholic traits to others, when you wear the Super Boss cape, and when you try to be too perfect, you end up taking on other people's work, fail to delegate, and become exhausted. Good library leaders use their human resources assertively and with compassion; they make the best use of time and people. It's not always about what you can do alone, nor should it be.

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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.