Tuesday 19 August 2014

Crash Course in Dealing with Difficult Library Customers

Finished August 15
Crash Course in Dealing with Difficult Library Customers by Shelley E Mosley, Dennis C Tucker and Sandra Van Winkle
This book covers a variety of situations that one can encounter in a library environment. It begins with an overview of general guidelines when dealing with customer-related problems at the library.
The book is then divided into sections grouping different types of problem customers. Each type within the grouping is described well, and strategies are given for dealing with them, followed by a brief summary. Some of these didn't meet my library's normal procedure, seeming too restrictive or aimed at a smaller library with less resources than mine. Most strategies suggested were helpful and simple to understand though.
The first grouping is disruptive behaviours. This includes those who abuse privileges, those whose behaviour is disruptive to other library users, and those who take up more staff time than their information need should require due to their behaviour.
The second grouping are those who believe that their needs are more important than others. This includes aggressive customers, those who want to censor material, the name-droppers and self-important, and the ones who just like to be difficult.
The next grouping was of parental issues and included a range from permissive to abusive, as well as those who just drop their kids to fend for themselves.
The fourth group was those with social service needs from the job seekers to homeless and mentally ill. Information on other helpful organizations for those in the U.S. are also given in this section.
The fifth group was those who break the law, in terms of property or information. So this includes vandalism, theft and computer crime.
The last group is those who are dangerous or potentially dangerous and covers those with substance abuse issues, sex crimes, and stalkers among others.
There is also a helpful appendix that includes examples of policies, forms, and procedures.
A very good resource that will be helpful to most libraries.

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