For over 22 years, Steve Albrecht has trained thousands of library employees around the country on the dos and don’ts of handling challenging, entitled, eccentric, demanding, harassing, or even threatening patrons. His articles, blogs, podcasts, and keynote speeches have helped empower equip library employees at all levels to be more empowered, assertive, and confident when helping users who are struggling with homelessness, mental health issues, trauma backgrounds, and substance use problems.
The Safe Library offers practical and realistic tools which will make every library facility a better, safer place to work. Readers will learn:
This book provides advice and support to help library employees best deal with sexually harassing patrons, unruly groups of students, thieves, Internet hogs, and others who can disrupt the safe library environment. It offers best practices for helping patrons experiencing homelessness to follow library rules while staff treat them with dignity and respect; helping staff stay motivated to deal with the same challenging patrons and their accompanying demands, day after day; protecting smaller or rural library facilities and keeping one-room, one-librarian facilities safe; working more effectively with onsite security guards and responding law enforcement officers, to create more consistent responses; and using daily, monthly, quarterly, and yearly facility security checklists to regularly assess the state of your buildings and IT systems.
This book is for all levels of library employees, from longtime staffers to part-timers and even library volunteers. It will especially appeal to library directors, managers, and supervisors who have to manage different types of staffs and patrons in different types of facilities, ranging from downtown locations to rural library buildings.
Here's the book that answers the most common (and even uncommon) user behavior and customer service questions, or as many attendees have said after experiencing Steve’s dynamic training programs, “Here’s what they don’t teach you in library school.”
Since 2000, Steve Albrecht has trained thousands of library employees in 25+ states, live and online, in service, safety, and security. His programs are fast, entertaining, and provide tools that can use immediately in the library workspace with all types of patrons.
He is a frequent keynote speaker at regional and national library conferences, covering safety and security topics.
Each month, he creates webinars, blogs, and podcasts for Library 2.0, a training and information site for over 65,000 library professionals. Steve has written or been interviewed for several national and international library publications.
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 management.
In 1994, Steve co-wrote Ticking Bombs, one of the first business books on workplace violence prevention. It was featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
Chapter 1: What They Don't Teach You in Library School: Security Matters, Talking Helps
Chapter 2: Training Library Staff in Service, Safety, and Security: A Team Effort
Chapter 3: Preventing Harassment of Library Staff: Responding to Sexual or Racial Comments or Behaviors by Patrons
Chapter 4: Better Responses for Patrons Dealing with Homelessness: An Empathy-Driven Understanding
Chapter 5: Dealing with Patrons with Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders: Behavioral and Medical Events
Chapter 6: Our Top 10 Most Challenging Patrons
Chapter 7: Working Safely in a Rural Location: The One-Employee or Micro-Staff Library
Chapter 8: An Armed Attacker in the Library: Rare, Catastrophic, and Survivable
Chapter 9: Police Officers and Security Guards: The Need For New Responses at Your Library
Chapter 10: A Plan for Library Emergencies: Medical Events, Fires and Beyond
Appendices: Additional Security Tools
Appendix A: Sample Security Incident Report Format
Appendix B: Inspection Days
Appendix C: The Need for a Visitor/Vendor Access Policy
Appendix D: The Perils of the Parking Lot
Appendix E: Safe Library Events: The Need for a Written Emergency Plan
About the Author
Security and safety are critical issues everywhere, libraries included. School, public, and academic libraries all need to address security and safety needs, which may differ from library to library. Such concerns were not an issue until about 25 years ago, so schools of library and information science did not cover them. Albrecht is a specialist in this area, and he packs this book with all kinds of information librarians and staff need to know when dealing with emergencies and safety/security issues. Chapters cover such topics as homeless library users, working with those with mental challenges, rural safety, and dealing with an armed intruder. The scenarios the author presents will make for productive discussions. Excellent appendixes provide information about access, parking lot safety, and security tools. This book will be an excellent resource for information sciences classes, for local or national organization professional development, or for individual use on an as-needed basis. Although much of the book focuses on public libraries, the book is applicable to all libraries. Essential. Graduate students, researchers, faculty, and professionals.
There is a frequent misconception that libraries are idyllic, conflict-free spaces where everyone respects one another’s boundaries. However, anyone who regularly frequents a library can attest that this is not always true. Former police officer and security management expert Albrecht (Library Security: Better Communication, Safer Facilities) offers strategies designed to empower library professionals of all levels to become more vigilant, assertive, and confident contributors to the safety of their library. Emphasized are methods to better facilitate communication and de-escalation, develop safe and effective workplace habits, analyze and advocate for improved security within the library, and provide exceptional customer service even when dealing with challenging patrons.… A thought-provoking resource that posits library safety as a responsibility shared by the entire staff. Albrecht’s guidance will benefit all library workers, whether administrative or public-facing.
Dr. Albrecht plays an amazing and unique role with libraries and library staff. His trusted voice brings his years of security experience as well as a premier customer service trainer, to the important tasks of providing safety and security in the library, while also respecting and empathizing with both staff and patrons experiencing challenging moments. There is no one better, and this book will be the ready-reference standard for years to come. The Safe Library should be on the desk of every library director, manager, and supervisor.
The Safe Library should serve as an essential training manual for all library personnel. It offers urgent solutions for the most difficult problems facing libraries today. With his warm, witty, and engaging style, Dr. Albrecht shares research and experience-based best practices that makes this book necessary reading now.
I can't think of anyone else I would rely on for library security expertise. Steve's insight and books have driven many of my successful security plans.
This is a very comprehensive book on library security. All library staff and library administration will gain valuable insights and practical solutions in approaching this ever-changing topic.
I have used Dr. Albrecht on numerous occasions for special training programs and found his workshops and books to be invaluable tools for libraries. The Safe Library can help you thoroughly examine how your library can address many of the old and new safety and security issues amplified by the pandemic, and the divisive behaviors that library boards, administration, and employees are sometimes dealing with on a daily basis from their users. Every library should invest in a copy of this book for their internal professional collection for their organization.
Steve is a library security professional and a skilled collaborator. He presents thought-provoking ideas on making libraries safe and his book is a practical tool for all library staff. Steve does not reinvent the wheel; he looks at all the wheels and brings those ideas together for the benefit of everyone. If you are working on safety and security in any library, public, private, law, or academic, you need this book, not on the shelf, but on your desk as a reference. It’s worth the time to read it and the ideas inside just may save a life.
As the world has been thrown into turmoil because of the pandemic, so have been libraries, librarians, and our patrons. Librarians have found themselves thrust into situations where while working in a state of crisis they are also desperately needed to provide for their patrons who are also in crisis. This has created environments of heightened stress and increases in the need for all library staff and stakeholders to do whatever possible to increase safety for all. Steve has become an expert in this area and addresses this with solid, practical descriptions and actionable advice for all libraries. This timely book is an essential read.
8/15/23, Circulating Ideas podcast: Albrecht was interviewed about the book and discussed the changes he has seen in the library system over his career.