[Videolib] SSNs

Julie Dinkins (dinkins@sonoma.edu)
Tue, 11 May 2004 14:05:52 -0700

I originally posted this on the circplus listserv, but am hoping there
are members of videolib who also may be able to assist.

Thank you kindly,

Our campus, like many other campuses, is moving away from SSNs. We now
issue student IDs with ID numbers in place of SSNs. But, here in the
library, we still need to issue cards for our off-campus borrowers. We
would like to stop asking for SSNs from these patrons, too. Currently,
we use the SSN to verify patrons over the phone and in person, if they
don't have their library card (we ask for photo ID and the last 4
digits of the SSN). And we also search on the SSN for duplicate patron
records in our catalog. Of course, we can search by last name, but
there are sometimes many duplicates.

Here are my questions:

1. Has your library begun to cease using SSNs?
2. If so, do you use something else in its place?
3. And if you do, what the heck do you use? It would need to be
something patrons can remember. We've considered some of the typical
birthdate - patrons probably won't like giving out this info
mother's maiden name - I've always thought this was a weird sort of
thing to ask for.
place of birth
last four digits of SSN - I think the same patrons who don't want to
give us their whole SSN, won't want to give us part of it.
4. If you don't use SSNs and aren't using anything in its place, has
this created any problems? Such as verifying a patron over the phone or
verifying a patron who doesn't bring in their library card or checking
for duplicate patron records.

Also, please give me an idea of the size of your library or campus or
patron population and whether you're a public or academic library.

Any help is truly appreciated!!


Julie Dinkins
Multimedia & Circulation Services Manager
Sonoma State University Library
dinkins@sonoma.edu | 707-664-4077

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