Does your library have a plan for dealing with angry patrons both in-person and in the online environment? Think: angry comments on websites, blogs, social networks, or even chat?
Read the book: Defusing the Angry Patron: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians, 2nd ed. by Rhea Joyce Rubin (2011).
Troubled, angry, forgetful, violent...there are many patrons who call on librarians to use their interpersonal spidey-senses, as well as reader advisory skills.
Librarians serve and interact with the public and must be prepared to encounter difficult situations as best as we can, to the benefit of all parties involved.
This article provides examples of a wide-range of scenarios you might consider for staff preparedness and training, as well food for thought as to what your own individual reaction would be to certain behaviors. Expecting, mentally rehearsing and therefore being able to confidently provide service (or enacting appropriate policies) when the time comes, can go a long way in diffusing and take some of the stress out of these situations you might encounter.
What’s more, by confronting the realities of the day-to-day struggles of “difficult” patrons, you may find opportunities to serve others and impact others in ways beyond literacy and access to information.
by Richard Bermack