Library Security: Better Communication, Safer Facilities

ALA Editions. 2015. 184p. index. ISBN 9780838913307. pap. $55; ebk. ISBN 9780838913550. PRO MEDIA
Libraries are public spaces that appear to be safe, quiet havens—yet library employees know that is not always the case. Veteran San Diego police officer Albrecht (Fear & Violence on the Job) presents common sense tips on library safety and security. He shows how good communication and effective customer service skills are keys to handling difficult patrons, such as those who respond angrily when having to pay late fees or feel entitled to break the rules. He also discusses specific situations, including how to deal with homeless substance abusers, abandoned children and seniors, and mischievous teens. For more threatening scenarios, the author offers suggestions on how library staff can keep themselves, their colleagues, and patrons safe, explaining how to respond to an active shooter or a person who is mentally ill. Handy checklists, sample security assessment surveys, and stress management techniques are also provided.
VERDICT Both front line library staff and administration will find Albrecht's advice useful and practical, whether they work in a public, special, or academic institution. [See author Q&A on p. 97]
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