Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The Value of Role-Play Practice at Staff Meetings: Using Challenging Patron Situations to Get Our Responses Right

We've just posted a new Dr. Albrecht blog post in our "Library Service, Safety, & Security" section of Library 2.0: "The Value of Role-Play Practice at Staff Meetings: Using Challenging Patron Situations to Get Our Responses Right."

Real life rarely imitates the training experience. Except when it does. There is much value to "practice makes perfect" and "perfect practice makes for perfect execution." In other words, what we do in training we can remember and use on the library floor.

One way and one place to get it right is by using role-play scenarios, for about 45 minutes or so, at staff meetings, to practice what to say and how to say it, for more challenging, complex conversations and service interactions with patrons. One employee plays the part of the staffer and another plays the part of the patron. They each can add their own approach (and twists and turns) to the following 12 scenarios here, with an eye toward improving, problem-solving, and perhaps most importantly, by creating a common response that is used staff-wide, in similar situations, so we show a consistency of message.

The role-plays should only take about five minutes. At the end, the group can give both role-players some feedback as to what they heard and saw (body language is a big part of our success with challenging patrons too) and what they liked and what they might say or do differently. The goal is to be supportive and informative for all in the room.

Read the full post here.

While Dr. Albrecht's twice-monthly podcast and blog posts are available for free, as are our regular mini-conferences and all the conference recordings, we offer a series of his paid webinars and recordings  which are available for individual or group viewing here.

Recordings Available:


Since 2000, Dr. Steve Albrecht has trained thousands of library employees in 25+ states, live and online, in service, safety, and security. His programs are fast, entertaining, and provide tools that can be put to use immediately in the library workspace with all types of patrons. In 2015, the ALA published his book, Library Security: Better Communication, Safer Facilities. He is currently writing the sequel, The Safe Library: Keeping Staff and Patrons Secure in a Changing World.

Steve holds a doctoral degree in Business Administration (D.B.A.), an M.A. in Security Management, a B.A. in English, and a B.S. in Psychology. He is board-certified in HR, security management, employee coaching, and threat assessment.

He has written 24 books on business, security, and leadership topics. He lives with seven dogs, two cats, and three chickens.

Dr. Albrecht's recent podcasts episodes include "Mentorship and Succession Planning to Develop Library Leaders," "The Power of Staff Meetings,"Are We Making It Too Hard to Hire Qualified Library People?," "Tools and Tips for Library Supervisors: Parts 1 & 2," "Stop Saying Calm Down," Spirit of Service," "Library Civility: A Code for How We Treat Each Other," "The Code of Quality Service," and "The Power of Surveys." You can listen directly on the site or you should also be able to access the podcast in SoundCloud here or in your own podcast app using the RSS feed here Click here to let us know what topics you'd be particularly interested in having us cover in the Library 2.0 webinars, blog posts, and podcast series. 

Dr. Albrecht's other recent blog posts are available here, including: "Gang Problems in the Library: A Rare But Challenging Security Concern," "The 'Best Boss – Worst Boss' Exercise: Assessing Yourself as a Library Leader," "Developing Financial Knowledge and Budget Skills: What Every Library Supervisor Needs to Know," "Puzzled About the Police Response in Your Library? Perhaps a Better Understanding of Their Unique Culture Will Help," "Safety and Security at the Jacksonville (FL) Library" (a 40-minute video interview with Chet Price, the Safety and Security Manager at the Jacksonville (FL) Library), Solving Conflicts Between Library Employees: A Tool For Getting Along When No One Wants to Get Along," "Is There Hidden Bias at Your Library?," "The Hidden Power of the Pages (Our Employees, Not Our Books)," "Forgiveness: How Libraries Can Host Programs on Restorative Practices - An Interview with Azim Khamisa," "Do Your Library Employees Have the “Spirit of Service?,” and "Library Civility: A Code for How We Treat Each Other." 

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