Re: [Videolib] SSNs

Julie Dinkins (
Thu, 13 May 2004 12:21:34 -0700

Thanks Marc.

On Tuesday, May 11, 2004, at 03:55 PM, Syp, Marc P. wrote:

> Yes, yes, and yes.
> We don't use SSNs and yes we have lots of problems. We do ask for
> birthdate
> and mother's maiden name, but if a patron doesn't want to provide that
> information, we don't force it. The only thing we require at the time
> of
> issuance is a valid ID for proof of street address or proof of various
> other
> conditions to determine eligibilty. The only pieces of information we
> absolutely require are a name and street address. Basically that
> means that
> we have a ton of patrons that just go out and get a new library card
> as soon
> as they've maxed out their first one. Sometimes we catch them and
> sometimes
> we don't. The problem is, if they get turned down at one branch, they
> usually just head over to another one until they find someone who will
> issue
> a library card because they haven't checked our patron records closely
> enough to determine if they have already been issued a card.
> We have cases where a patron has been issued 4 library cards -- a
> married
> woman with a hyphenated last name has been listed Mary X-Y, Mary X Y,
> Mary
> X, and Mary Y, and all records have slight to massive fines. We also
> get a
> lot of people using their mother's, brother's, daughter's, cousin's
> card,
> and sometimes it's very difficult to tell, as we don't generally make a
> practice of asking for picture ID while someone is handing us a library
> card. Also, to my knowledge we actually allow this practice. Don't
> ask me
> why. Some people think it's nuts, but we're pretty lenient. It's
> part of
> what we call public service, I suppose! :-)
> Thanks,
> Marc Syp
> Supervisor, Film Library
> St. Louis Public Library
> 314.206.6704
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of Julie
> Dinkins
> Sent: Tuesday, May 11, 2004 4:06 PM
> To:
> Subject: [Videolib] SSNs
> 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,
> jd
> ------------------------
> 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
> stuff:
> 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!!
> Thanks,
> jd
> ----------------
> Julie Dinkins
> Multimedia & Circulation Services Manager
> Sonoma State University Library
> | 707-664-4077
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Julie Dinkins
Multimedia & Circulation Services Manager
Sonoma State University Library | 707-664-4077

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