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Privacy and Self Check Out

Chronicles of Dissent – “With self-check, patrons can come pick up books they reserve without having to wait on line or for librarian assistance. The problem with self-check is that libraries put the reserved books out where they are available to everyone and with the patron’s name on the tag, allowing anyone and everyone to see what you have reserved.”

3 Responses to “Privacy and Self Check Out”

  1. Sarah
    September 23, 2007 at 7:38 pm #

    This is the case at my local public library – I am absolutely appalled that the staff didn’t alert patrons to the fact that their holds would automatically be available for public display. I asked, politely, if they could continue to hold my items in the back. They put a “note” on my account to this effect; however, I continue to find my hold items in the public pick-up shelves. This seems like a small infraction, but it has potentially huge implications over the long-run. What’s to keep your stalker from perusing the books you plan to read?

    It reminds me of a scene in “Kiss the Girls” when Ashley Judd’s character realizes that Cary Ewles’ character is the “Casanova” serial killer by a comment he makes – he’s been going through her garbage, and knows way too much about her personal habits.

    I know, off the topic, but I like to retain my privacy as much as possible. Instead, strangers (not to mention government officials) can come up to me and ask questions about the books that I’ve been reading from the library.

  2. Kerri
    September 24, 2007 at 8:16 am #

    At my local public library, they took this concern into consideration when they went to open hold shelves. Instead of tagging items with “last name, first name”, they instead abbreviated both (4 digits of last name, 2 digits of first name). They said they have only run across a small handful of patrons who cannot be differentiated using this method.

    They also shelve the holds spine-down to make it more difficult to casually browse what others have on hold, and have tried to schedule staff (at least when they initially went to open hold shelves) so that there was frequently a staff person shelving holds or shelf-reading to discourage people from looking through others’ holds.

    It’s not total privacy, but it’s a few small (and reasonable) steps in the privacy direction.

  3. Oleg Boyarsky
    September 24, 2007 at 8:37 am #

    We have been trying to educate libraries on the need to preserve privacy during “holds” or “reserved” periods, but it is an uphill battle.

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