What Do I Do Now? Handling Challenging Situations with Mentally Ill and Homeless Library Users, Part 1

Course Objectives:

Is your library staff overwhelmed by users behaving badly? Does your code of conduct sufficiently address users’ inappropriate behaviors? Are staff resentful of having to act as de facto social workers?

To a great extent, libraries’ users behave within the framework of acceptable social norms. But a subset of users in all libraries – large, small, urban, rural, suburban, special and academic – behave outside these norms, placing stress on the staff and other users. Whether the behaviors are exhibited by those who are homeless, mentally ill or just plain rude, providing your staff with limit-setting and self-care skills can turn challenging situations into empowering ones. San Francisco Public Library has turned to other City agencies to assist staff in gaining skills and strategies for responding to these situations.

At the end of this one-hour webinar, participants will:

Be able to identify at least 3 reasons why it is important to set limits with users. Be able to share with co-workers at least 3 effective strategies on how to set limits with users. Be able to articulate the importance of the concept of self-care and be familiar with self-care strategies following a difficult interaction with a user.

This webinar will be of interest to library front-line staff, primarily in public libraries but useful no matter the setting.