Re: Patron privacy

Francis C Poole (fpoole@UDel.Edu)
Wed, 29 Jan 2003 06:27:29 -0800 (PST)

Some years back the Faculty Senate passed a resolution supporting
confidentiality of patron borrowing records. In a more perfect world this
"policy" would be unambiguous and fairly easy to enforce. But we soon
found it didn't always work when instructional videos were the issue.
Faculty often know who has a video in their department and will ask that
colleague if they can borrow it. We know it goes on and we try not to get
involved in those transactions. We also try to follow the policy on
confidentiality but occasionally a situation arises when it seems easier
on everyone to be flexible. This requires a knowledge of who we're dealing
with and also some discretion and diplomacy. We don't often reveal names
but when we do, we usually receive a note of thanks from the one asking.
I don't recall every hearing a complaint from a faculty member who has
been asked by a colleague if they can share a video for teaching purposes.

These situations often involve poor planning on the part of instructors
but may also indicate the need to acquire more copies of a popular title
in order to avoid booking conflicts. I am not recommending that anyone
else handle the problem like we do. It depends on your relationship
with your patrons and understanding and supoort from your library
administration.

Francis Poole, Librarian
University of Delaware Library