The North Central Library District hosted the Challenging Patron Workshop: Library Safety, Security, and Service at the Moment of Truth on August 23, 2019, at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Thompson Development Center in Williamsport. The workshop drew 60 library directors and staff members from the North Central Library District and other parts of the state.
Dr. Steve Albrecht, a nationally recognized expert on library safety and security and author of Library Security: Better Communication, Safer Facilities, led the workshop. Steve is one of the country’s leading experts on workplace and school violence prevention and is an expert on dealing with high-risk customers and library patrons. He holds a doctoral degree in Business Administration, an M.A. in Security Management, a B.S. in Psychology, and a B.A. in English. He is board certified in HR, security management, employee coaching, and threat assessment.
Dr. Albrecht discussed fifteen challenging behaviors in patrons and characteristics associated with those behaviors. Workshop participants were given real life tips to recognize these behaviors and the emotions that may be fueling them. He encouraged empathy, patience, and trusting intuition. Part of the discussion centered on replacing phrases that don’t work with phrases that may work. For example, it’s never a good idea to tell someone to calm down. A better phrase would be “I can see you are upset.” Participants were given the opportunity to role play during lunch to practice new skills. Steve’s use of humor gives a heavy subject a lighter touch.
In addition to in-person workshops, Dr. Albrecht presents webinars for the American Library Association and Library 2.0.
June Houghtaling, District Consultant
North Central Library District
This event was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor.