Crash Course in Dealing with Difficult Library Customers
by Shelley E. Mosley, Dennis C. Tucker, and Sandra Van Winkle
December 2013, 173pp, 8 1/2x11
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-61069-283-0
$45, £34, 38€, A65
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-284-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Are you prepared to deal with thieves, inebriated patrons, mentally ill individuals, or problem parents?

Libraries are public places—open to anyone and everyone. This book contains invaluable, practical tips for library staff who sometimes must deal with difficult or even dangerous individuals and situations.

Every library experiences difficult patrons. Thorough preparation is the best defense: it’s always much better to be proactive than reactive. The authors of Crash Course in Dealing with Difficult Library Customers realized that these kinds of situations are more universal than unique, despite the great variations in library environments and customer bases, and pooled their more than 100 years of experience to offer practical advice that will help library staff prepare for the many kinds of “worst case scenarios”—before they arise.

The book identifies the basic types of problem-causing individuals, thoroughly overviews effective strategies for offsetting their actions, and explains how to successfully manage the stressful, emotionally charged situations that can arise. Drawing on their extensive real-world experience, the authors provide instructions for “last resort” options when dealing with illegal activities, acknowledge the rights of employees in difficult situations, and present strategies that will minimize staff members’ stress levels when dealing with patrons. While this book will be extremely valuable to public library staff, it addresses common situations that can happen in public service at any type of library. Administrators who need to develop policies to protect their staff and their users will also find this unique work essential reading.

Features

  • Presents practical, down-to-earth approaches based on the authors' many years of real-world experience that can be applied in any type of library environment
  • Provides advice about unpleasant situations in an accessible, non-threatening way that also injects an appropriate modicum of levity into a serious subject
  • Supplies essential tools for dealing with difficult patrons ranging from "the censor" to "the VIP" to dangerous, unstable individuals
  • Gives readers the knowledge they need to be prepared for handling potential problems, resulting in greater confidence and peace of mind at the workplace
Shelley E. Mosley is an author and retired library manager. She coauthored Romance Today: An A-to-Z Guide to Contemporary American Romance Writers; The Suffragists in Literature for Youth: The Fight for the Vote; and The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List. She and Dennis Tucker coauthored Crash Course in Library Supervision: Meeting the Key Players. Mosley has written hundreds of articles and reviews for professional journals and is a contributor to What Do I Read Next?: A Reader's Guide to Current Genre Fiction and NoveList.

Dennis C. Tucker, PhD, is reference/adult programming librarian for the Margaret K. Troke Branch of the Stockton–San Joaquin County Public Library, Stockton, CA. He holds a master's degree in library science from the University of Missouri–Columbia, a master's degree in teaching from Southeast Missouri State University, and a doctorate from the Graduate Theological Foundation. Tucker and Shelley E. Mosley coauthored Crash Course in Library Supervision: Meeting the Key Players.

Sandra Van Winkle is a technical writer and an experienced grant writer. She has considerable library experience, is a contributor to What Do I Read Next?: A Reader's Guide to Current Genre Fiction, and coauthored both Romance Today: An A-to-Z Guide to Contemporary American Romance Writers and The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List with Shelley E. Mosley. Van Winkle received her bachelor's degree in public administration from Ottawa University.

Reviews

"[T]his volume truly presents the reader with a comprehensive overview of preventing stressful situations in the library, diffusing angry patrons, and knowing the best course of action to take in any circumstance. . . . The work is a great review as well as introduction to the life of a librarian, illustrating both the positive and the challenging situations."—ARBAonline, October 1, 2014
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