Lending Materials Anonymously

The June 2005 issue of Computers in Libraries has an intriguing article concerning anonymous lending. Ben Ostrowsky of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium suggests that one way to ensure patron’s privacy is to allow them to borrow materials using collateral other than a library card (e.g., name, address, phone number). Instead, you could use money as the collateral. A patron’s account balance is debited by the replacement cost of the resource when they check it out; when returned, their account balance is restored (possibly less a rental charge). If they don’t return it, purchase another.

Apparently, this is doable in some systems now. Ostrowsky discusses Dynix and Library Corporation, but others may also have this functionality.

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