Managing Disruptive Patron Behavior in Law Libraries: A Grey Paper
99 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2015
Date Written: February 2015
Nearly all law library staff have encountered, and likely will encounter, some measure of challenging patron behavior. This white paper, dubbed by the authors a "grey paper" as it attempts to analyze and contend with a fundamentally dynamic phenomenon, was written at the request of the AALL RIPS-SIS Executive Board with the hope of providing a jumping off point for further inquiry and discussion on current best practices in managing difficult, challenging or disruptive patron behavior in law libraries. In lieu of a traditional white paper solution, the authors have included a collection of best practices largely developed based on common themes which emerged from a 2014 online survey of law library staff; follow-up correspondence with several survey respondents; and a review of case law and relevant literature within law librarianship and other fields. The solutions to the problems of disruptive patron interactions can most nearly be found by providing a library atmosphere of safety for patrons and staff; equality in the staff treatment of all library patrons; consistency and predictability in staff responses accomplished by flexibility not rigidity; and communication and transparency of both policies and service limitations. This paper provides practical strategies for attaining that ideal.
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