Libraries insist patron privacy safe

The Elgin Courier News - Elgin,IL - has an Interesting Look At patron privacy. Libraries in the area have recently tightened Internet access. Many libraries that formerly allowed visitors to simply walk up to a computer and surf the Internet now mandate that patrons first punch in identifying information, such as their library card number, before accessing the Internet.

Library employees cite this as an example of keeping up with the times and increasing patron convenience.

However, they say, it also raises privacy concerns, an issue that was spotlighted when the U.S.A. Patriot Act — which expanded the government's authority to fight terrorism — was adopted in October 2001.


Sadly public terminals in some library settings where directors spend so much of their workday fighting the Patriot Act and advocating privacy freely dispense the barcodes of patrons who have previously done a status check or entered a hold request.