Not All Heroes Wear Masks (But Maybe They Should) is a poster in the 2020 PNLA Virtual Poster Session. We encourage you to engage in discussion by leaving a comment on the page. The author of the poster will respond to comments the week of August 4-7, 2020.

Presenter: Robert Perret

Track: Academic, Public, School, & Special Libraries

Abstract: There will be many challenges facing libraries as they reopen, but one of the most challenging may be trying to manage safe behaviors in patrons, particularly if your library is taking a soft approach to enforcing efforts like social distancing and masks. This poster will describe methods for suggesting desired behavior to patrons through environmental design and behavior cues even if you do not have the budget (or authority) to make big changes. We can make the library safer for patrons and ourselves with practical, thoughtful approaches to patron services and patron spaces.

Poster:

About the Presenter: Robert Perret works in Special Collections and Instruction at the University of Idaho. Years of experience with classroom management have informed best practices for encouraging the best behavior in patrons even when there may be no hard and fast rules.

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Kellian donna Clink
6 days ago

GREAT!!! I’m not sure how this is going to go. These kids are going to be coming from everywhere, some Covid-heavy, some Covid almost non-issue, some far right, some far left. Also we are going to have minimal staffing, and I don’t want staff to get into a dispute…some disagreements about the issues have resulted in violence, injuries and even death. I’m not in charge (thanks BE) but I know that the powers that be are in conversation about signage and when to call the police (not campus security, only other students?). I have no idea how this could go, but it’s good to think in advance both personally (I haven’t confronted anyone in grocery stores, just gotten the hell out) and collectively what we want to do and what our chain of command is doing and needs to do. CUTE presentation!!! Very effective way of presenting this!

Robert Perret
Reply to  Kellian donna Clink
6 days ago

Thanks so much! I know as a reference librarian is sitting out front and enforcing the rules to some extent I am very interested in having clear guidelines and knowing that I will be supported by my library even if someone places a nasty call to my boss or writes a grumpy letter to the newspaper.

Kellian donna Clink
Reply to  Robert Perret
5 days ago

I did a presentation for tomorrow on public libraries and homelessness and one of the quotations is about staff wanting training on de-escalation and CLEAR AND CLEAR AND CLEAR directives so they don’t have to guess and so they can be absolutely fair…not have to leave it up to their own judgement on a case by case basis. I asked once if we could have baskets with notes saying something like I’m trying to study and you’re being noisy and pointing to their code of conduct thing that students have that is supposed to govern their behavior…but NO ONE thought that was a good idea. Students don’t want to confront other students, even with just a note dropped on their desk, so it’s up to the grown ups. We do have maps of social and quiet areas and the top floor is really quiet, but a lot of the quieter areas still end up being noisier than I could take a test or write a paper in. A lot of our chat business is “people are being noisy in the quiet area, can you come?” It’s just going to get a LOT worse with the mask wars…………YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rick
6 days ago

Hall of references — I am going to use that. This is such a big issue — masks are something staff wants — but also have concerns with enforcing with others. You offer some good advice. Any thoughts about staff/patrons who put political or controversial logos on their masks? Not sure where the line might be with patrons or even staff in the workplace.

Robert Perret
Reply to  Rick
6 days ago

With patrons there probably isn’t much you can do unless it is explicitly vulgar or hateful. (And you hopefully already have some sort of policy in place for that.) Likewise, with staff, there are probably existing policies or expectations. A mask is no different that a t-shirt. The issue we have seen around the country, of course, is supposed gray areas like the somehow controversial phrase “Black Lives Matter.” I think back in the day the idea would have been that the library endorses any slogan worn by an employee, but I am not sure that is true anymore, so libraries probably have some wiggle room to allow an employee to wear a BLM mask without taking the stance that the library endorses BLM. Although, libraries probably should be all in on Black Lives Matter tbh. If it is a swastika it needs to go. I think people can determine what is inclusive messaging and what is exclusive/hateful messaging.

Caitlin
6 days ago

Thank you so much for the slide on keeping staff safe! I feel like sometimes we get so caught up in our focus on great customer service and keeping our communities safe that sometimes we forget that our staff are our community too.

Robert Perret
Reply to  Caitlin
6 days ago

The staff are in the library for extended periods with little control over how much interaction they have with others so I hope they are high on the priority list!

katy
Reply to  Robert Perret
6 days ago

Unfortunately, I feel that all too often staff safety does not come before patrons’ comfort in some administrators’ / librarians’ eyes. I remember in mid-March before things started shutting down, people who raised safety concerns (for staff AND patrons) about remaining open got responses like, “sure, but the students…” or “but our patrons are depending on us…”

I think it’s great if libraries can safely operate, with masks as you so stylishly demonstrate. As some teachers are saying: “I love my students. But I can’t teach them if I’m dead!”

Pam Henley
6 days ago

Fabulous! We’ve been emphasizing the “safety of our staff” aspect for public libraries because, especially in small towns, everyone knows the library staff and wants to help them remain open. Reminding the community that there might be step back (reducing services or closing again) could be a consequence of not wearing a mask. As far as masks with political statements: is that any different than a t-shirt? I for one would love some the Grinch-themed masks I’ve seen 🙂

Genova
6 days ago

Love this- visually this is on point and fun. I hope that it inspires people to be kind!

niki
5 days ago

This is great! Fun, engaging, and good points about modelling the behavior, giving out masks to people who can’t afford them, and supporting clear expectations for staff who deal with the public. After looking at Donna Langille and Sanjni Lacey’s poster on the culture of care, I wonder if clear policies and public facing information on expectations in the library during COVID could even be seen as a form of care taking.

Lorena
5 days ago

Love how you framed this! How much is library-specific versus a sustained campaign at the university level?

Robert Perret
Reply to  Lorena
3 days ago

Here we have defaulted to a proactive implementation of the university campaign.

Laurie
5 days ago

Great presentation! Would love to print?

Robert Perret
Reply to  Laurie
3 days ago

Feel free to contact me at rperret at uidaho.edu and I’ll send it along!