Dealing with Difficult Patrons

Every library employee encounters difficult patrons and users from time to time. Whether it’s a troublesome group of teenagers, a loud patron, an angry or even dangerous person, the experience of dealing with someone unpleasant is common for staff in libraries of just about all sizes and types.

In this workshop, library safety and security expert Steve Albrecht will show you how you can deal with these problem patrons effectively, efficiently, and without creating major disruptions in your library environment. Library employees at all levels will learn strategies for dealing with such patrons and effectively diffusing challenging situations.

Topics include:

  • Developing a security plan and consistent responses for all situations.
  • Understanding the need for security thinking in the “new” library 
  • How to more accurately define workplace violence, its perpetrators, and types of threats.
  • Enforcing Library Codes of Conduct.
  • Providing “high-risk” customer service.
  • Interacting more effectively with law enforcement.
  • Using realistic communication tools that work for all patrons.


Dr. Steve Albrecht, PHR, CPP, BCC, is board certified in HR, security management, and employee coaching. In 1994, he co-wrote Ticking Bombs, one of the first business books on workplace violence. He holds a doctorate in Business Administration, an M.A. in Security Management, a B.S. in Psychology, and a B.A. in English. He worked for the San Diego Police Department from 1984 to 1999 and is the author of 15 books on business, workplace security, and criminal justice topics.


How to Register

Registration for this ALA Editions Workshop is available on the ALA Store at both the individual and group rates. The workshop takes place on Thursday, September 19 at 2:30pm Eastern/1:30 Central/12:30 Mountain/11:30am Pacific and lasts 90 minutes.