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Into every professional life, a little moon will shine

Dealing with sub-problem patrons

Abstract

A sub-problem patron is a library user who causes problems, the solutions to which are usually not worth the effort. For example, sub-problem patrons might chatter aimlessly at a librarian at a reference desk, or block aisles with baby strollers, or wear immodest attire. They might discard chewing gum and other rubbish carelessly. They might have foul body odor or bad breath. It is often not worthwhile for librarians to spend much time attempting to change such habits and behavior. Librarians might hesitate to ask sub-problem patrons to change their behavior owing to concerns about political correctness. A librarian recommends “firm assertiveness”: ...

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