Not returning an overdue book can be embarrassing for many users. For some, it means incurring punitive fines. Those fines can prevent them from coming to the library or graduating from college. While libraries will often delete the borrowing record of items returned, an overdue book may remain on your record for years. It is a ripe opportunity for a user’s borrowing history to be shared without their consent.
Examples of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) include:
- Social Security number
- Government issued ID number
- Financial account numbers
- Contact information (email, phone, address)
Research how your library is notifying and discussing overdue materials with users.
If notices are printed and placed in homeroom teachers’ boxes, fold and staple the notice so that only the student’s name is visible. If students are notified in person, move to a private location to have the conversation so that no one can hear what material the student checked out.
Does your library call users to inform them of overdue items? Develop procedures that require a user to verify their Personally Identifiable Information (PII) before staff disclose the title of the item. No information should be given to anyone other than the cardholder. This includes minors.
How does your library handle requests from professors to recall items held by students? If necessary, develop a policy that allows the student’s information to remain private. Professors and staff should not be given details as to who checked out the material.