Creating Safer Libraries: Foundational Tools for Librarians and Frontline Staff

Manage conflict and safety concerns proactively by learning strategies and tactics for conflict resolution, de-escalation, and long-term safety in your library or classroom. 



Course Description 

Guest speaker sessions via Zoom:
Thursday, Mar. 7 from 12:00 to 4:30 pm ET (recordings available)

Manage conflict and safety concerns proactively by learning strategies and tactics for conflict resolution, de-escalation, and long-term safety in your library or classroom. Keep your colleagues, patrons, and yourself safe by learning best practices for sustaining library safety. 

Safety concerns are on the rise at libraries, and it can be difficult to know your options for managing these challenges. This course, intended for librarians and frontline staff, will teach you trauma-informed practices for de-escalation and conflict in order to promote safety in your library and classroom.

Librarians often have to be mediators in moments of high tension. This course will equip you with tools to respond to security issues, file incident reports, resolve conflicts, intervene as a bystander, and more to ensure you are prepared in these moments. You will also learn how to establish restorative justice practices so that you can approach safety from an equity lens.

You will leave this half-day intensive with new and innovative strategies to prioritize safety in your library.

The live sessions run on Thursday, March 7, 2024 from 12:00-4:30 pm ET (recorded for on-demand viewing). Don’t miss this opportunity!


When you sign up early, you’ll have immediate access to our Early Access On Demand Resources—a series of webinars from Library Journal and School Library Journal contributors along with rich, supporting materials in the form of readings, activities, and videos—to explore at your own pace.

Learning Outcomes

After you leave this course, you should have the ability to:
  • Approach safety from a trauma-informed lens

  • Use NARCAN to respond to opioid overdose crises

  • Use tools to stay grounded in your values during conflict

  • Understand youth developmental norms

  • Engage with youth in crisis in an authentic, trauma-informed, and developmentally appropriate way 

  • Establish professional and healthy boundaries 

  • Resolve conflicts in a trauma-informed way

  • Know when to disengage and ask for support


Who should take this course 

This course is for librarians and frontline staff to equip you with tactical safety strategies on the ground as you navigate safety risks, high tension, or conflict in the workplace.

Expected time commitment: 

If you attend or watch the recordings of all live sessions, you'll spend approximately 4 hours on this course. You'll earn 4 hours of PD credit and a Library Journal certificate of completion. 

Live sessions are also available on demand for six months

Can’t make a live session? All guest speaker sessions are recorded and available on demand for six months following the initial broadcast.

Certificate of completion provided 

4 professional development credit hours

For support with online courses, please contact


All guest speaker sessions feature live captioning and are made available on demand after the initial broadcast. Please email upon registration if you require any special accommodations and we will make our best efforts to facilitate them.


Group Rates

Have a team attend and increase your impact!

Discounted registration fees are available for groups of 3 or more. 

Send us a request for a quote.




By registering for this event you confirm that you have read and agree to our Code of Conduct.

For support with online courses, please contact




Half-Day Online Course:  Thursday, March 7, 2024


Session 1 | 12:00-12:45 pm ET

De-escalation, Boundaries, and Self-Care in a Customer Service Role

Librarians and frontline staff often have to navigate tense or unsafe situations. How do you simultaneously attempt to resolve conflict and maintain your personal boundaries and self-care all while in a customer service role? How do you respond to an unruly patron, and at what point do you disengage and ask for support? This session will discuss de-escalation strategies and give you practical tips for identifying and articulating your boundaries and identifying ways to care for yourself while at work. 


Melissa Munn, (she, her) Customer Experience Director, Public Operations at Pierce County Library System


Session 2 | 12:45-1:30 pm ET

Safer Libraries for Staff and Patrons: Trauma-Informed Librarianship 

Trauma-informed practice is essential for creating an environment of safety and care. This session will teach you the foundations of trauma-informed principles to apply to your library especially, but not exclusively, in moments of crisis. We will also discuss ways to process and start to heal after a traumatic event. These practices will be actionable and relevant whether you’re interacting with patrons, colleagues, or turning trauma-informed care toward yourself. 


Leticia Cotto, Customer Experience Officer, Hartford Public Library

Catherine G. Corto-Mergins, LCSW, Director of Training, The Village for Families & Children



Break | 1:30-1:45 pm ET


Session 3 | 1:45-2:30 pm ET

NARCAN Training: Recognizing and Responding to a Potential Opioid Overdose

How do you know when there is a potential opioid overdose incident in your library? And what can you do to help defuse the issue and support the patron if needed? This NARCAN training will teach you how to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose and administer the drug Naloxone (brand name NARCAN), a medication that saves lives by reversing an opioid overdose. Leave this session understanding your role in harm reduction in this public health crisis.

Note: The training does not provide the credentials to be a Naloxone Distribution Entity. State requirements differ. Please check with your local state HHS or Health Departments for specific requirements for your state.


Kourtnaye Sturgeon, director of education at Overdose Lifeline, Inc. (ODL)


Session 4 | 2:30-3:15 pm ET

Centering Equity During Conflict

Between safety concerns and hostile patrons, tensions in and around libraries are at an all-time high. Research shows that implicit biases are more likely to surface and escalate during moments of tension and conflict. As a result, truly internalizing equity practices is key to centering equity during conflict. This session will discuss ways to ground yourself, recognize and deal with implicit bias, and respond rather than react in moments of conflict so that you remain aligned with your values.


Lu Bangura, Chief of Equity and Fair Practice at Enoch Pratt Free Library


Break | 3:15-3:30 pm ET


Session 5 | 3:30-4:30 pm ET

Engaging with Tweens and Teens in Crisis (and Afterward)

A panel of experts on working with young adults in and outside the library profession will share insight from their own fields on how to manage and de-escalate situations involving tweens and teens in crisis. The panel will be moderated by a librarian and facilitated discussion after the panel will focus on how these insights from other fields can be put into practice in a library environment.


Georgette E. Spratling, MALS, MLIS, Library Manager - Youth Services Librarian - Program Coordinator at North Miami Public Library

Astro Pittman, (they/them) 2SLGBTQ2IA+ Specialist

Leslie Briner, MSW, Founder of Social Strategies, LLC





Half-Day Online Course Format

Inspiring Live Guest Speakers 



Live session with Andrea Blackman and Tasneem Ansariyah Grace

Live Guest Speakers 

  • Live, expert speaker sessions with audience Q&A (session recordings available on demand if you can’t join live)
  • Option to join on camera to participate in interactive discussions and activities with course presenters and peers


Online Course Preview

A preview of how we build your library skills and bring inspiration to your projects with our online learning experience.


Online Course Features


Recordings of guest speakers

Recordings Available After The Live Session

  • Real-time guest speakers and conversation via live video stream (with recordings available afterward)



Early Access On Demand Resources

Early Access and Ongoing Resources To Support Learning

  • Supporting resources (articles, videos, worksheets) in the online classroom to provide a foundation for your work
  • Access all course content for six months after the course ends
  • Bonus: Register early and get immediate access to archival video recordings from related courses and other bonus content




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