Just in time for the start of the school year, we’ve revised the Rude Patrons policy to provide more guidance when dealing with the pranksters, the rude, the obscene and the abusive. The new policy is available in the 24/7 Policies section 4.5.1, Rude Patrons policy.
The revised rude patron policy takes a look at 4 types of “rude” behavior:
- Rude behavior/obscene language
- Abuse/personal attacks
For each of the 4 behaviors, we provide guidelines and examples. In addition, we’ve added a Policy of Mutual Respect, which you can reference in those cases where the patron’s library does not have its own policy.
Do the policies work? Here’s an example where the patron made a lewd suggestion to the chatting librarian at the beginning of the session. According to the policy for “rude behavior/obscene language: Obscenity is never okay. Librarian should: set boundaries
- First warn the patron that the behavior is unacceptable and that the session will be ended if that behavior continues.
- If patron’s bad behavior continues, then disconnect.
Here is what happened when the librarian followed this policy:
Patron: i need help with my library card
Librarian: Hello, <patron’s name> !
Librarian: My name is Pat. I am a librarian who is helping to answer questions for your library. I am reading what you wrote to see how I can help you...what seems to be the matter?
Patron: i need someone to [patron makes lewd suggestion]
Librarian: At this time I must warn you that if you would like to continue in this chat session, that type of language is considered unacceptable. Would you like to continue without using that type of language?
Librarian: Hi, how may I help you with your library card?
Patron: i need to activate it but when can i come
Librarian: Let me see what I can find...
Librarian: Do you mean when can you visit the library during business hours?
Patron: yea like when can i activate it? can i do it online
[Librarian sends information from policy page regarding activating library cards, as well as branch location and hours]
Librarian: Can I help you with anything else?
Patron: no thank you so much
Librarian: Thanks for using our service! If you need help with anything else, just contact us again. Goodbye for now.
When your patrons send messages containing obscene language, first warn that this behavior is unacceptable. The warning may stop the offending behavior and allow you to provide good service, as in the session above. However if this patron had continued to use obscenities, then end the session. Librarians have enough to deal with as it is, and we don’t want to condone bad behavior from our patrons!
Questions about the new rude patron policy? Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org