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The problem is that children can't enter in a legal contract by themselves, which is how most libraries view their library card agreements. That's why they make the parents sign - so someone can be on the hook for paying for late and unreturned materials. If you don't want to share records with parents, don't assess fines and fees to kids who don't return books.

I'm a big believer in protecting everyone's records, and general privacy, *equally*. I don't think that a parent should see a child's record without the child's consent, especially given that there are cases where the child is checking out books on sensitive topics that they don't want the parents to know about (especially if the parent(s) or guardian(s) are involved in the sensitive issue).

That said, I do agree with Carol's comment that, if a parent signs a document making the parent (legally?) responsible for the child's library items, then unless there's a clause that says the parent can't see the item history without consent, then they really need to be able to see it. It's a flaw in library card policies that needs to be addressed.

If there are going to be laws allowing parents to view records, there need to be really, really clear guidelines on what constitutes a "parent", "guardian", "child", "minor", and any other possible terminology defining participants. I believe that there should be some sort of informed consent at some age level for the "children" and "minors", so that they have an age at which they can determine if parents can look at the child's record.

It's a weird slippery slope. Many libraries aren't even tracking check out records outside of the currently borrowed items due to the USA PATRIOT Act, but as OPACs strive to be more like Amazon.com, it will become more of an issue.

On a purely practical side, if you require a parent sign the request or application for the child's library card, indicating the parent assumes responsibility for what the child checks out, how can you refuse that parent seeing what the child checks out/has checked out?

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