Cover image for Dealing with difficult people in the library
Dealing with difficult people in the library
Willis, Mark R.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chicago : American Library Association, 1999.
Physical Description:
ix, 195 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Z711 .W64 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Z711 .W64 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This text offers practical strategies for managing problems posed by patrons and other staff. It is a hands-on guide to solving problems through communication, preventive measures and clear and concise patron behaviour policies.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Although Rubin focuses on the angry patron, she includes information on some other difficult patron types. First, however, she discusses what anger is and how it affects the angry person and the human objects of anger. She presents preventive measures, including 20 strategies for defusing a patron's anger, but as important is the chapter on dealing with one's anger during and after an encounter. She includes relevant exercises and an extensive bibliography. Willis' scope is broader. Besides the angry patron, he considers situations including suspected child abuse, censorship, problems with Internet users, homeless persons in the library, and parents who treat the library as a convenient, free baby-sitting service. In separate sections he focuses on communicating and preventing problems from occurring, and he includes sample policy statements.

Library Journal Review

From the mentally ill to the homeless, from the talkative to the angry, problem patrons go with the territory when working in public libraries. Willis, community relations manager in the Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library, offers concrete solutions to handling the myriad number of problems connected with difficult people. The first and most important issue in dealing with a problem patron is to gain control, and the author gives helpful ideas on just how to do that. He also outlines steps to control a situation once the librarian is confronting a patron. Willis offers sample problem cases and discusses how to resolve them. In addition, he has chapters on dealing with children, covering child abuse and the library's role as a baby-sitter. Problems of the Internet in libraries and censorship are also highlighted. How can libraries be prepared for dealing with these problems? Policies! The sample policies provided will help libraries write their own. Not since Anne Turner's It Comes with the Territory: Handling Problem Situations in Libraries (Professional Reading, LJ 7/93) has such an effective guide been published on this subject. Staff and administration both will find this excellent book very useful. Highly recommended for all public libraries.√ĄMarie Bruni, Huntington Memorial Lib., Oneonta, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.