If you define yourself as a rural library staff member, see if these scenarios sound familiar:
- A man comes in and asks you for the time. You tell him and he nods and goes to sit at a nearby table, where he just stares at you for the next two hours . . .
- A female comes in and tells you she is living on the streets. She asks if she can use your restroom. She goes inside and locks the door. An hour later and she’s still in there . . .
- A group of local teenagers come into your library and start messing with your displays, rolling the book carts around, and making noise. You ask them to leave and they refuse . . .
- A man who is angry at the county comes into your library to ask you for legal advice. When you tell him you cannot give him that type of help, he takes a gun out of his backpack and places it on the counter.
If you work in a rural library location--which can be defined as having a police or sheriff’s response that could be 20 minutes to an hour away, working alone in the building, or working in a one-room facility, with only one way in or out--these options aren’t always available.
Join us to watch a webinar about library safety and security followed by a discussion with your colleagues about best practices in how to react in certain situations.
- Know how and when to use “high-risk customer service skills” with difficult or challenging patrons.
- Being firm, fair, consistent, reasonable, and assertive in your application of your Code of Conduct.
- Trusting your intuition when working alone. Should you stay or go?
- Setting up help systems: phone trees, code words, exit and evacuation plans.
- Improving your physical security: panic alarms, OC pepper spray, better door hardware, remote locking devices, safe rooms.
- The value of Security Incident Reports.
- How to get better results from your law enforcement agencies.