Improving library security through better communication

For Immediate Release
Tue, 06/09/2015


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association


CHICAGO—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, Steve Albrecht, a 15-year police veteran, has presented workshops for libraries on dealing with challenging patrons. His new book “Library Security: Better Communication, Safer Facilities,” published by ALA Editions, is filled with no-nonsense advice that 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. 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.

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, and a BS in psychology. He is board certified in human resources, security, and employee coaching.

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. ALA Editions publishes resources used worldwide by tens of thousands of library and information professionals to improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal professional development. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a growing range of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5418 or