Occasionally a patron will display loud, rude verbal behavior. Patrons may seek to intimidate, boss and/or treat our staff and students in a non-courteous manner.
When this happens, you first can distance yourself from the patron and calm yourself by taking one step back.
Then attempt to diffuse the situation by indicating in some way that you understand the patron's frustration, e.g.,
- "The book you say you returned is not on the
shelf. Let's look for it together."
- "The library does make mistakes, but patrons often are mistaken about having returned materials, etc."
If appropriate, suggest to the patron that you move to a nonpublic area.
If the patron continues to be abusive, using good judgment indicate that it is not necessary to act in such a manner, e.g.,
- "I understand you are upset, but let's try
to talk without shouting."
- "It is not necessary to speak in such terms to me or others."
- "We treat our patrons in a civil, polite manner and expect the same in return."
If patron behavior does not change immediately, then:
- "I am sorry you feel this way, but we are
not expected to receive this type of behavior. When you are
ready to politely ask for service then we will serve you."
- "You can come back in 15 to 20 minutes."
If the above responses result in more hostility, call Protective Services (5-8061). Please document the incident. Give your supervisor and the Library Director a copy so they can respond if the patron or others come in to talk about this.
Anita Evans, Library Director
Michele Strange, Circulation Librarian