Cover image for Defusing the angry patron : a how-to-do-it manual for librarians and paraprofessionals
Defusing the angry patron : a how-to-do-it manual for librarians and paraprofessionals
Rubin, Rhea Joyce.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., [2000]

Physical Description:
xi, 99 pages : illustrations ; 28 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Z711 .R79 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
Z711 .R79 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Reference material
Z711 .R79 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Reference material

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Does dealing with angry customers eat up staff time, increase stress at public service desks, and undermine morale? This work introduces the many causes and faces of anger as well as practical techniques for dealing with angry patrons. It covers handling frustration and confrontative behaviour.

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

If you work in a library, you sometimes deal with difficult and angry patrons. Rubin is a library consultant who also gives workshops for library staff on learning how to handle angry patrons; her book is ideal for front-line librarians and paraprofessionals. An overview of types of anger is followed by steps staff can take to prevent anger in the first place. Rubin explains 20 basic coping strategies including learning to breathe and relax before speaking, treating the patron with respect, avoiding red flag words, using a "salami" technique to tackle multiple complaints in one outburst, disagreeing diplomatically by using a "fogging technique," using and observing body language, and arranging for a resolution within a specified time. She especially focuses on listening techniques since most of us only have a 25 percent listening efficiency. When an angry patron is on the phone, verbal communications become even more important because there are no visual cues to help and only 14 percent of a message is conveyed in words. Rubin includes sample exercises, self-tests, and write-in spaces. Rubin also believes in looking at policies that make patrons angry to see if they are outdated and can be replaced for more satisfactory customer service. Used in tandem with Anne M. Turner's It Comes with the Territory: Handling Problem Situations in Libraries (McFarland, 1993) and Mark Willis's Dealing with Difficult People in the Library (Professional Media, LJ 10/1/99), this is recommended for paraprofessionals and library managers.--Marie Bruni, Huntington Memorial Lib., Oneonta, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.