We all discuss library users with fellow staff. Sometimes it is necessary for security or for the academic enrichment of a user to share their name or other personal details. Many times staff just want to share an interesting interaction or express their frustrations after a long day. When discussing users, it’s important to take a pause to decide if it’s necessary to divulge who they are to another staff member.
Staff should never discuss one library user’s behavior or library use with another user. If you live in a small town or serve a smaller library community, you might not even need to share someone’s name for another person to figure out who you’re talking about. Be vague with details that might expose someone without their consent. Also, always consider where you are before speaking. While it might seem at first glance that it is only you and a co-worker at the circulation desk, another user may be within earshot.
It can feel uncomfortable to stop a colleague when they’re violating someone’s privacy by sharing their personal information in a conversation.
Write up three ways that you might approach a co-worker if you overhear them talking about a user.