Conflict Resolution for Libraries

Like any organization, libraries have conflict. Whether it’s among librarians, staff, or administration, conflict can and does occur in libraries across the globe. However, unlike other organizations, libraries face specific problems which can cause conflict that are not salient to many companies. These problems present a need for conflict resolution for libraries, tailored to each library’s specific needs.

Librarians working at conflict resolution for libraries

Conflict Resolution for Libraries

There are many specific issues that library staff encounter day-to-day which can create conflict. For example, the increased intergenerational work environment at libraries is one factor that may lead to a need for conflict resolution for libraries. Issues related to censorship and access to information are another. Additionally, many libraries across the United States are now faced with a new responsibility – social work with homeless and economically restrained individuals. These are all major sources of conflict for library staff, indicating a need for conflict resolution for libraries.

Pollack Peacebuilding Systems offers training, peacebuilding, and coaching solutions for each of the various issues that librarians, administrators, and staff members face. Some of these solutions are highlighted below and can be tailored to meet your library’s needs:

Intergenerational Conflict

Libraries often constitute a diverse intergenerational environment. While this diversity is certainly beneficial in many respects, it can also lead to conflict. This conflict is natural, as different and competing life experiences often lead to conflict. How can libraries handle this type of intergenerational conflict?

PPS has a number of programs that can be customized to specifically address intergenerational conflict in libraries. We offer diversity and inclusion training, which we call Moving from Identity to Humanity which can help libraries actuate an optimal and collaborative workplace culture. The training consists of communication skill-building, develops staff rapport, and encourages curiosity in conflict instead of competition.

Conflict Over Access to Information and Censorship

Many libraries advocate for the freedom of access to information through the various books, literature, and other reading material they provide. But often, they also desire to protect children and adolescents from access to what they would consider harmful information. As polarization has increased in the United States over the past decade, censorship has become a major area of conflict among library staff. When such divisive issues are brought up in the workplace, tensions can skyrocket and conflict can erupt, leading to greater job dissatisfaction and demotivation.

Although these issues can be hard to talk about at times, PPS offers training and peacebuilding solutions that can help facilitate these conversations peacefully. From communication skills training, which helps participants better communicate their thoughts and feelings in conflict, to our peacebuilding program, which helps improve organizational conflict culture, our services can help libraries resolve even the toughest of conflicts.

Conflict Over Services to Poor and Homeless People

The American Library Association has stated that as the number of homeless and economically disadvantaged populations increase within the United States, libraries are put in a unique position to help positively serve the community. Over the past decade, many libraries have noticed an uptick in these populations utilizing libraries as a place of shelter during the day and as a place to learn.

While this offers libraries a new role to positively help the community, it also requires library staff to engage in a new set of responsibilities outside of their job descriptions. These responsibilities vary and have some semblance to social work, which requires a unique set of skills, including conflict resolution.

Pollack Peacebuilding’s communication skills training, conflict resolution training, and de-escalation training are effective at teaching library staff valuable conflict resolution techniques and skills for all situations, including working with people that are homeless and economically restrained.

Library Staff picking out book, representing censorship conflict resolution for libraries

Conflict resolution for libraries is an increasing need in today’s society. Normal everyday workplace conflict, intergenerational conflict, conflict over access to information, and conflict over community services are becoming more prevalent in libraries across the world. If you want to learn how to prevent, manage, and resolve conflict in your library, contact us today for a free consultation.

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