MCLS Third Thursday Twitter Chat - "Is Patron Bashing Killing Our Spirit?" with special guest Samantha Minnis

September 15, 2016

  1. Welcome to our chat on Patron Bashing! We have special guest @smminnis! She will be sharing insights with us. #mclschat
  2. I will be asking questions, but feel free to jump in and ask for clarification or ask additional questions. #mclschat
  3. Before we get started, please say hello and say where you are tweeting from. #mclschat
  4. A1 First let me give credit to my absent partner Matt Smith of Kalamazoo Public Library #mclschat
  5. A1 All of this research came out of a project he started and we worked on it together, but he's unable to join us today #mclschat
  6. A1 Patron bashing is talking negatively about patrons. It can be venting, ruminating, categorizing, gossiping, and storytelling #mclschat
  7. A2 1/4 B/c sometimes patrons are annoying! Or don’t follow policy, or are rude. #mclschat
  8. A2.2/4 But then becomes part of a characterization of patrons as rude or weird and part of our professional culture #mclschat
  9. A2 3/4 It is also sometimes rooted in privilege (racial, academic, economic). #mclschat
  10. A2 4/4 We also do it to cope with the emotional labor of our jobs. #mclschat
  11. They are rude to us when they don't get their way. #mclschat
  12. @Brodyskat True, patrons get frustrated when things don't work out the way they had anticipated and they can take it out on staff #mclschat
  13. A31/3 it’s not a good coping mechanism. Talking/thinking about negative experiences makes our anger and frustration last longer. #mclschat
  14. A 3 2/3 It can actually cause us to react to minor annoyances disproportionately. #mclschat
  15. A3 3/3 & due to confirmation bias, the more we think of our patrons as weird/bad, the more we notice the weird/bad things they do. #mclschat
  16. Sometimes I feel I'm being rude back, and then I feel bad. #mclschat
  17. Q4. How does confirmation bias work? #mclschat
  18. A4 1/2It’s a form of cognitive bias where we tend to notice information that confirms to a belief we already have. #mclschat
  19. A4 2/2 When we tell ourselves patrons are bad, we tend to notice the bad interactions we have rather than the positive or neutral. #mclschat
  20. @escanabalibrary if you type #mclschat into your search bar, then choose Live, you'll get the whole stream of conversation.
  21. Yes! As soon as we see a "problem" patron coming in, our bashing starts and we talk about them before they're even in the building.#mclschat
  22. @Brodyskat Exactly! They're a "problem" before they've even done anything! #mclschat
  23. Q5. So our memories are fooling us? #mclschat
  24. A 5 1/4 In a way! We tend to remember negative events more strongly than we remember positive or neutral events. #mclschat
  25. A 5 2/4 The very fact that negative things happen less often means they take on more significance in our memories. #mclschat
  26. A5 3/3 This was actually a survival instinct of sorts: it’s more important to remember what can harm you rather than what won't. #mclschat
  27. A 5 4/4 Negative emotions/interactions are more influential/memorable than positive ones. #mclschat
  28. And we see to egg each other on. Sorry about my lack of #. This is my first Twitter. #mclschat
  29. @Brodyskat Yep! (and no problem, I'm barely keeping my # straight. :) #mclschat
  30. A6 1/2 The articles cited in A3 show that venting isn’t effective for getting over emotional situations. #mclschat
  31. A5 2/2 Participants in those studies who vented/ruminated were angry for longer periods of time than those participants who didn't #mclschat
  32. A6. I'm part of the group when I'm doing it, then immediately feel guilty. Other staff members not so much. #mclschat
  33. @Brodyskat Well, maybe they do and you can't tell. Or, when there are enough ppl doing something, it doesn't feel "as wrong" #mclschat
  34. @smminnis Is there a difference in the results of the study between people who vented and people who ruminated? #mclschat
  35. Good question @MCLSMegan! I don't believe those 2 things were tested against ea other in the articles I read #mclschat
  36. @MCLSMegan @smminnis Both were harmful and can extend the time we feel angry or frustrated. Rumination can extend it for 8hrs #mclschat
  37. @MCLSChrystal @smminnis Another great question! Ppl in the studies who did nothing were better off than people who vented. #mclschat
  38. @MCLSChrystal @smminnis Remembering our emotions are temporary even when they are intense is helpful. #mclschat
  39. @MCLSChrystal @smminnis So is redirecting our thoughts to something more cheerful or changing the context of the interaction #mclschat
  40. @MCLSChrystal @smminnis So instead of assuming someone was rude b/c they're a rude person, imagining they're having a bad day... #mclschat
  41. @MCLSChrystal @smminnis ...helps us feel more empathy and calm down from the intensity of the interaction #mclschat
  42. If I have a patron issue, I try not to bash the patron, but the situation. In some cases, it leads to a policy revision. #mclschat
  43. @MissyMcPherson Good point! By paying attention to the situation we can adjust policy if necessary #mclschat
  44. @smminnis If those things aren't helping do have have any relaxation techniques that can be done? #mclschat
  45. @MCLSChrystal This is just off the top of my head, but for me taking deep breaths and practicing mindfulness helps #mclschat
  46. 1/2 I have a COM degree & remember learning over & over that it takes anywhere from 3-10 positive interactions/feedback to #mclschat
  47. 2/2 ...counteract 1 negative (depending on the study). Seems to fit with this, too. As humans, negative can weigh us down so fast! #mclschat
  48. @smminnis @MCLSChrystal How does this differ from discussing a situation with coworkers to learn how to better handle it? #mclschat
  49. @MCLSMegan @MCLSChrystal B/c discussing w/ a coworker to learn has a specific goal. You're not just venting emotion. #mclschat
  50. @MCLSMegan @MCLSChrystal You would also avoid name calling or letting it become the thing you always talk to with that coworker #mclschat
  51. Q& What do we do if someone else is bashing patrons to us? #mclschat
  52. A7 1/4 The important thing is to try to avoid it becoming part of your organizational culture or your routine. #mclschat
  53. A7 2/3 If someone has a bad interaction with a patron and they vent to you about it, tell them you’re sorry that happened to them. #mclschat
  54. A7 3/3 When it’s appropriate, try to help them think about more positive things. #mclschat
  55. A7 3/4 Avoid asking them about it later, or letting it become the only kind of conversation you have with that coworker #mclschat
  56. Q8 But what about the emotional labor of our jobs? #mclschat
  57. A8 1/4 We all know our jobs are very emotionally tiring, even on days when things go really well! #mclschat
  58. A8 2/4 My belief is that being pleasant in front of patrons & talking badly about them when not in front of them makes that harder #mclschat
  59. A8 3/4 because venting doesn’t help anger or frustration go away, it prolongs it them #mclschat
  60. A78 4/4 And makes us react more negatively if we return to the service desk and encounter another frustrating situation. #mclschat
  61. A9 1/2No! You can see examples of this all over the internet! Nurses bashing patients, retail workers bashing customers, etc #mclschat
  62. A9 2/2 I believe that it happens because we don’t respect the emotional labor in those positions which leads to frustration. #mclschat
  63. If I noticed bashing, I take over the service desk for awhile to give staff a break. That helps end the bashing. #mclschat
  64. @MissyMcPherson That's a great strategy! Front line staff are esp vulnerable #mclschat
  65. @MissyMcPherson So giving them relief when they need it is a great idea! #mclschat
  66. Q10 But what if a patron really is disruptive? What should we do, not talk about it? #mclschat
  67. A10 1/5 We have policies in libraries because we want to establish places where everyone feels safe & respected, including staff. #mclschat
  68. A10 2/5 Not bashing patrons doesn’t mean we don’t hold patrons accountable. #mclschat
  69. A10 3/5 Being empathetic to our patrons means we can be kind and think well of them even when they’re not at their best. #mclschat
  70. A10 4/5 But here are times we have to ask patrons to leave, or have to report their behavior to other coworkers and supervisors. #mclschat
  71. A10 5/5 Talk about the behavior being negative and instead of person, take action rather than name calling the patron. #mclschat
  72. Q11 How do we foster of culture of respect? #mclschat
  73. A11 Personally I use a concept from Brene Brown’s latest book: practicing empathy by believing people are doing the best they can. #mclschat
  74. A11 When you believe ppl are doing the best they can, it helps you deal with the situation as it is... #mclschat
  75. A11 So you can meet your patron's needs where they are today, instead of how you wish they were #mclschat
  76. @escanabalibrary It very well might! When we respond with kindness often that disarms angry patrons and leads to a better outcome #mclschat
  77. @escanabalibrary But if it doesn't, we can manage our own responses after a frustrating interaction by not engaging in venting #mclschat
  78. Q12 What else should we know about patron bashing? #mclschat
  79. A12 Practicing empathy and dealing with intense emotions in new ways is a practice #mclschat
  80. A12 Which means it may be difficult and take energy at first... #mclschat
  81. A12...but then it becomes easier as we do it. #mclschat
  82. A12 Being kind to ourselves and other coworkers as well as to our patrons is key. #mclschat
  83. A12 We've all been the person to do something silly or lose our tempers and need graciousness... #mclschat
  84. A12...which is helpful to remember when we are in a position to offer that graciousness to others. #mclschat
  85. My pleasure! Thanks everyone for your great questions! #mclschat
  86. @pkapraun You're so welcome! I'm so glad you found it helpful! #mclschat
  87. Next month Small libraries can do BIG things with Chris Brown, Director, Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library #mclschat