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August 13, 2005

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I went into another of my local libraries yesterday, and was given a slip announcing a new self-service hold shelf, with names as the identifier! I have sent an e-mail to the library expressing my concerns. If the problem is something in the set-up of the library software (both libraries use Innovative), then Innovative should be be pressured to change their software, rather than compromising patron privacy because the software does not provide the information in the appropriate format. What a trend - we rail against the Patriot Act, and offer holds up on a plate!

Susan

What about library staff reserving materials for themselves?
My library's procedure for library staff holds is to put the item on that person's desk or workspace, item face up with last name on the spine, which results in a field day for said looky-loos, especially since our desks are in clear public view. I've been tempted to reserve a book like "How To Get Rid of Your Nail Fungus in 7 Easy Steps" just to see what sort of unsolicited comments I get from my colleagues.

This is a step backward in privacy.

Self-serve reserves is almost essential these days to cope with the huge increase in reserve requests. Combine better information about titles not-on-shelf with simple procedures for users to place requests online, and it's easy to see why the number of reserves has skyrocketed.

Here's how three libraries near me do it - from best to worst:

1)books arranged by the user's last initial (M for me)... and then by the last six digits of the card. My name is nowhere in sight.

2)books arranged by user's last name, which is written on post-it. Books are shelved spine-in .. only the foredge is readily visible (i.e. the side showing all the pages). Looky-loos have to work a bit (and be obvious) to see what their neighbors are reading.

3)books arranged by user's last name, written on large piece of paper which is supposed to (but doesn't) cover the spine of the book. Looky-loos can easily see what their neighbors are reading.

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