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Library Security: Better Communication, Safer Facilities—eEditions e-book
Steve Albrecht
Item Number: 7400-3307
Publisher: ALA Editions
Price: $44.00
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184 pages
Year Published: 2015

Read a sample of the book and listen to a podcast with the author now!

Library work is really all about people. And the inclusive, welcoming nature of the library means that all kinds of people pass through its doors. Not all difficult patrons are dangerous, but some frighten staff and other library users, which can lead to situations that are distracting, troubling, and fraught with liability. For more than a decade, Albrecht, a 15-year police veteran, has presented workshops for libraries on dealing with challenging patrons. His no-nonsense advice will empower library staff in their personal security and give them the tools to confidently communicate with their colleagues, patrons, and members of law enforcement regarding inappropriate behavior. In this book he addresses security issues important to all libraries, including
  • Specific guidance for common situations, such as unruly teens, unwanted sexual advances, chronically homeless substance abusers, and more
  • The elements of an effective Code of Conduct and how to enforce it
  • Tips on how to manage internet usage to minimize potential problems
  • How to align with patrons and use language that defuses the conflict
  • Forming partnerships with service organizations, homeless shelters, mental health advocacy groups, and other community resources
  • How to know when it’s time to call the police, plus ideas for increasing law enforcement support
  • Ways to make the library more secure through changes to facilities
Through the methods outlined in this book, Albrecht demonstrates that effective communication not only makes library users feel more comfortable but also increases staff morale, ensuring the library is place where everyone feels welcome.
Table of Contents


Chapter 1    The New Library Workplace: Not So Quiet
Chapter 2    Three Keys to a Safer Library: Security-Aware Staff, Creative Customer Service Skills, and Enforced Codes of Conduct
Chapter 3    Challenging Patron Behaviors
Chapter 4    Common Types of Challenging Patrons
Chapter 5    Understanding Threats and Getting Help
Chapter 6    Workplace Violence: Awareness, Prevention, and Response
Chapter 7    Conducting Your Own Site Security Survey
Chapter 8    Community Partnerships: Law Enforcement, Mental Health, and Homeless Services
Chapter 9    Staff Development for a Safer Library: Results, Not Just Rules

Appendix A    Library Security Survey Checklist
Appendix B    Sample Library Security Suggestions for Site Survey Reports
Appendix C    Sample Staff Training Exercises
Appendix D    Want Less Stress? Try More BREADS
Appendix E    Resources

Praise for Library Security: Better Communication, Safer Facilities

“Dr. Steve Albrecht is a leading national expert on library safety and security.  His book offers practical, realistic tools which will make your facility a better, safer place to work.  Enjoy his real-life experiences as a law enforcement officer, mixed with his use of humor, knowledge of workplace behavior, security measures, and how to activate your ‘high-risk’ customer service skills.  All libraries can benefit from his skills and experience.”  
Gerry Garzón, Director of Library Services, City of Oakland

“Dr. Steve Albrecht, an engaging writer and trainer on the topic of workplace safety, security, and conflict resolution in libraries and other organizations, is wonderfully conversational in his approach. The result is a book that helps effectively prepare us for minor as well as major challenges in our workplaces well before we need to draw upon the expertise he shares with us.”
Paul Signorelli, Library Consultant

“Dr. Steve Albrecht brings both his breadth and his depth of experience with workplace safety to this new work on helping library staff work with a sometimes challenging public.  Steve's work is clear, concise and usable.  It comes from someone who really understands the special challenges library staff face in serving their communities.”
Cheryl Gould,

“In Dr. Albrecht's book, he uses his vast knowledge and experience to provide practical tools and techniques to deal with situations with difficult patrons. Staff can feel more comfortable and confident, knowing they have the tools to use if the need should arise.”

Kim Smithson, Carroll County Public Library, New Windsor, MD
About the Author

Dr. Steve Albrecht
is internationally known for his work on workplace violence prevention, and manages a training and consulting firm specializing in high-risk human resources issues, organizational security concerns, and work culture improvement. His many books include Tough Training Topics, Service! Service! Service!, Added Value Negotiating, Ticking Bombs: Defusing Violence in the Workplace (written in 1994 as one of the first books on this subject), and Fear and Violence on the Job. A retired San Diego Police reserve sergeant, he holds a doctorate in business administration, an MA in security management, a BS in psychology, and a BA in English. He is board certified in human resources, security, and employee coaching.

”The book is comprehensive and practical, with the central focus on providing better customer service in a comfortable, confident, and safe manner. Albrecht does not minimize staff uneasiness in dealing with unruly, threatening, or potentially violent patrons, but he stresses the need for clear, consistent, and publicly posted policies before situations arise … this current title brings together the most up-to-date approaches. Strongly recommended for a broad range of libraries."
— Booklist

”From vandalizing teens to homeless people who spend their days in the library, the gamut of difficult situations is presented with helpful suggestions about maintaining personal safety without alienating people who need assistance … This book will be extremely helpful as librarians in all settings navigate the waters of 21st-century libraries. It is highly recommended for public, school, and academic libraries."

”His expertise in law enforcement and conflict resolution in libraries offers positive leadership responses. This experience combines with his sense of humor to produce a literary contribution that is helpful, unique, and timely. Readers will enthusiastically determine that the pages address essential learning lessons for library administrative personnel and staff. Law enforcement agencies will also gain an awareness of related library security concerns after reading this informative handbook."

”Throughout the book, Albrecht supports his writings with staff development recommendations to ensure that strategies are developed to provide employees with practical tools and procedures to deal with crises, as well as difficult patrons. His writing style is straightforward and he keeps the reader interested throughout the various chapters."
— ASIS Dynamics

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