Posted recently on a listserv:
I’m looking for any resources that help library staff deal with disengaging from patron conversations or finding an appropriate exit point when a conversation is difficult to end.
How about simply stating, “I would really love to chat with you some more, but I need to get back to work.” In my experience, staff are reluctant to disengage from needy patrons for fear of looking rude. Devoting too much time to one patron at the risk of not attending to another patron’s needs or work that helps all the community is actually rude.
Most of the time this comes down to discussing best tactics with staff and trusting that the staff can manage a difficult customer service interaction. Also remember that each interaction will be different, so it is best to devise plans that will work for different interactions.
Finally, if your staff is reluctant to being proactive then remind them that a key component to working at a public library is the PUBLIC. If you are uncomfortable working with ALL members of the public, then look for another job.
Any other wisdom to share?