This last line isn’t directed at librarians, but it is a key fact. But the idea that metadata isn’t private, and as such libraries should get better metadata from publishers is interesting (and should be given a try).
Let me tell you a story:
About six months after 50 Shades of Grey came out, I was manning the circ desk at work (a smallish public library). The book was at the top of its hype, and the wait lists were a mile long. A regular came in. He was absolutely fuming. He marched up to the desk, slammed the book down in front of me and said, “I would like return this book. Then, I’d like to have it removed from my wife’s record, immediately!”
I took the book, discharged it, and thought it prudent to explain to him that once we discharge a book it is automatically removed from all patron records. Obviously, he wasn’t aware, and I think that this is something all of our patrons should be aware of. I was very clear, but the concept was clearly beyond anything he was willing grasp in his current state. Suddenly, one of my co-workers snatched the book from me, ran it under the barcode scanner of a neighboring computer, clicked the mouse a few times at random (our circulation program wasn’t even running on that computer, this was just for show) and informed the gentleman that she’d removed the book from his wife’s record. The gentleman stormed out immediately.
Can I tell you how angry I was? That was a teachable moment, and my coworker blatantly decided to perpetuate—and even encourage—ignorance. Granted, it was a tricky interaction. She was obviously only trying to diffuse the situation. However, I repeat,I think that this is something all of our patrons should be aware of. Was it worth the quick fix to let this patron believe that we normally keep records? I don’t think so.
Patrons should be taught that library ethics demand user privacy. We should emphasize this constantly, not only in our professional circles, but also to the public. There should be signs in the library, and posts on social media. It should be prominent in the welcome literature that comes with every new library card. We should sing it from the mountaintops.
(That’s not it) ”What kind of girl is your type？”
(That’s not it) ”You’re alone”
(That’s not it) ”You’re a domestic type, so someone will definitely, absolutely fall for you”
(That’s not it) ”Or maybe”
(That’s not it) ”There’s a girl you like？”
(That’s not it) ”By the way, why don’t you have a girlfriend?”
That’s not it It’s your fault Sooner or later, please notice it
Or not, because you are not required to date me just because you are female and I am male. You should be free to maintain a platonic relationship with me without the fear of my sexual advances.
-“Janakute” Aiba Masaki solo