Handling Challenging Situations: What Do I Do Now? Part I of II
- Is your library staff overwhelmed by users behaving badly?
- Does your code of conduct sufficiently address users’ inappropriate behaviors?
- Are staff resentful of having to act as de facto social workers?
To a great extent, libraries’ users behave within the framework of acceptable social norms. But a subset of users in all libraries – large, small, urban, rural, suburban, special and academic – behave outside these norms, placing stress on the staff and other users. Whether the behaviors are exhibited by those who are homeless, mentally ill or just plain rude, providing your staff with limit-setting and self-care skills can turn challenging situations into empowering ones. San Francisco Public Library has turned to other City agencies to assist staff in gaining skills and strategies for responding to these situations.