Half Day Preconference

Keeping Peace in the Library: Best Practices for Providing Service to Patrons Experiencing Homelessness

Tuesday, April 5, 2016, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Colorado Convention Center, Room 301-303

Does your library serve a large number of persons experiencing homelessness? We know from public health experts that a large number of that population experience mental health issues. How do you provide the best possible service for them while ensuring the comfort and safety of all library patrons? This session will look at the situation from a holistic viewpoint, including the perspectives of security, law enforcement, mental health, and library professionals. Attendees will come away with the latest information and great strategies for success.

At the end of this session, participants will:

1: Know three strategies in dealing with hostile and upset patrons. 2: Be able to work closely with law enforcement and mental health providers in their communities on safety issues. 3: Be able to list three internal communication strategies that help keep their library safe and secure.

The session organizer(s) identified this session as appropriate for:
Level 2: People with some knowledge, who want to increase their understanding.

Tags: Adult Services, Buildings and Facilities, Urban Libraries


Sydney McCoy, Branch Administrator
Frederick County Public Libraries, Frederick, MD

Sydney McCoy's first introduction to libraries came in her first semester of college where she started as a library shelver and quickly moved to circulation clerk and cataloger. While finishing her undergraduate degree in criminal justice she realized librarianship was her passion and went straight to library school at Indiana University. Sydney has spoken nationally on library safety and security.

Scot Hopkins, Lt. Col.
Frederick County Sheriff's Department, Frederick, MD

Lt. Colonel Scot Hopkins has been a police officer for 26 years and is currently the Law Enforcement Bureau Chief for the Frederick County (MD) Sheriff's Office. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland and 210th Session of the FBI National Academy. He has worked with the library system for the last 5 years assisting with staff scheduling and devloping security procedures.

Bob Knowles, Manager of Security
Denver Public Library, Denver, CO

Extensive security background in both the public and private sectors, Bob has been the Manager of Security for Denver Public Library for approximately 3 1/2 years, serving the Central Library as well as the 25 branches. Bob's education includes a Bachelor's Degree in Management and a Masters Degree in Security Management.

Elissa Hardy, Social Worker
Denver Public Library, Denver, CO



For questions about…

Cancellation Policy

Written cancellations, requests for refunds, and/or changes will be accepted until February 26, 2016, and are subject to a $30 handling fee. Refunds will be processed after April 25, 2016. According to PLA policy, all meal events require preregistration. The above cancellation/change information also applies to all preconferences, meal events, and tours.

The PLA 2016 Conference is offered on a cost-recovery basis. PLA reserves the right to cancel all or any part of this event if there is insufficient registration or for other reasons. Neither ALA nor PLA is responsible for cancellation charges assessed by the airlines or travel agencies, or other losses incurred due to the cancellation of the workshops. All information listed on this website is subject to change.


PLA has put in place features to ensure the conference is accessible to all.


Special print and electronic advertising opportunities are available to reach PLA members and attendees both before and during the conference.

Appropriate Conduct

All participants are expected to observe the rules and behaviors described in the Statement of Appropriate Conduct in all conference venues, including online venues, and conference social events.


There is no formal dress code at the PLA Conference. What’s most important is to dress for comfort.

Conference Logo

The custom logos of the PLA 2016 Conference are the property of PLA. Anyone wishing to use the logos in their communications and promotional materials must: 1) Seek permission from PLA; and 2) Submit communication/artwork incorporating the logo to PLA for final approval. The logo may not be modified and must be reproduced in its entirety (i.e., no outlines, cropping). To request the use of the logo, companies should contact Carly DiVito at Corcoran Expositions at 312-541-0567 or carly@corcexpo.com; all others should contact PLA at 800-545-2433 x5PLA (x5752) or pla@ala.org.


Contact Carly DiVito, Corcoran Expositions, 312-541-0567 or carly@corcexpo.com.


No carrying of firearms allowed in the Colorado Convention Center unless you’re on-duty law enforcement or off-duty and on payroll of the show or SMG (convention center management).


The official conference hashtag is #PLA2016.


Contact Heather Cho, ALA Media Relations Specialist, 312-280-4020 or hcho@ala.org. Please review our conference media policy.


ALA and PLA membership is managed by the ALA Membership & Customer Service (MACS) unit. To join, renew, rejoin, or add to your membership, fill out a secure form online; or print and fill out a membership form and fax or mail it in; or call 800-545-2433 and press 5. Direct your membership questions to MACS at customerservice@ala.org or 800-545-2433 and press 5. MACS representatives are available Monday–Friday, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM Central.

Mobile App

Attendees can access full event schedule, evaluate sessions, customize their own agenda, and compete in the Extraordinary Exhibits photo challenge game on the PLA 2016 mobile app. To request assistance with the mobile app, please e-mail pla2016app@ala.org.

PLA Office

The PLA Office is located in A Mezzanine in the Colorado Convention Center. You can access the A Mezzanine from any of the lobbies using Elevator A, across from registration, and press the MZ button to get to the Mezzanine. You can also access A Mezzanine from Exhibit Hall A using Stairwell 30. The office phone numbers are 303-228-8450 and 303-228-8451. Onsite office hours are Monday, April 4–Friday, April 8, 8:00 AM–5:00 PM; Saturday, April 9, 8:00 AM–1:00 PM.

Registration & Housing

Onsite registration hours are Tuesday, April 5, 7:30 AM–5:00 PM; Wednesday, April 6, 7:30 AM–6:30 PM; Thursday, April 7, 7:30 AM–5:30 PM; Friday, April 8, 7:30 AM–4:00 PM; and Saturday, April 9, 8:00–10:00 AM. Conference registration and housing is managed by Experient. Call or e-mail your questions, 800-424-5249 (U.S. and Canada), 847-996-5829 (all other countries), or pla@experient-inc.com. Experient representatives are available Monday–Friday, 9:00 AM–5:00 PM Eastern. PLA Conference is a professional event. It is not open to the public.


Contact Corcoran Expositions, Mary Michalik at 312-265-9650, mary@corcexpo.com; or Matt McLaughlin at 312-265-9655, matt@corcexpo.com.

Thank you PLA Conference Sponsors!


Most conference events—including all preconferences and concurrent program sessions—will take place in the Colorado Convention Center (CCC), 700 14th Street, Denver, CO 80202. Additional events will be held at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, 650 15th Street, Denver, CO 80202, and other venues as indicated.

Other Questions

Contact PLA, 800-545-2433 x5PLA (x5752) or pla@ala.org; or find someone to help in the PLA Staff directory.