Tracey (tanac) wrote in slof,
Tracey
tanac
slof

Anonymous library cards?

Thanks to Slashdot (and my partner Ken) for this article:
http://www.infotoday.com/cilmag/jun05/Ostrowsky.shtml

Basically, piece suggesting a system whereby you could obtain an anonymous library card with the deposit of a certain amount of money on it (completely your choice), at which time you would be allowed to check out items whose value did not exceed the amount on your card.

I can think of a couple of problems with this. One, that the guy has obviously never been involved with acquisitions, because it seems apparent that the "value" that he's using is the pure and simple cost of the item, which doesn't take into account processing or acquisitions costs.

two, that while patrons already can "steal" items by checking them out and then paying for them rather than returning them, the fact that we know who they are tends to prevent this from being done on a large-scale. (I can think of a rather lucrative side career of looking for libraries that have drastically undervalued (in the catalog) items in their collection, "buying" them and then reselling them on the secondhand market.)

three, that despite his disclaimer about poor people being able to look at things in the library all they like, it still disenfranchises a segment of the population from the ability to have privacy.
(and what about the issue of libraries that require a valid library card or some other type of identification or to use their computer resources? accountability is one of the ideas here, as if he later find out that someone has maliciously hacked your network or damaged your computers you can potentially try to find out who did it and hold them accountable.)

I am, however,glad that the idea is being discussed, and realize that the above are really logistics, when in principle I agree with the proposal.

other thoughts?
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