Warning: Libraries May Be Dangerous To Your Health and Civil Liberties!

Our public library catalog system has been recently updated. Notices have been posted on FB, around the brick and mortar buildings and online for months.

Training sessions are available for those not brave enough to try and muddle through all the new features. I’m usually a believer in taking advantage of tutorials and such but learning all the grand new features on my own is an opportunity too exciting to pass up.

And, yes, I am the geeky sort just eccentric enough to have my library account number memorized.

The day the new system was set to go online I logged onto to my account. Happily, I am able to confirm that there are some grand and glorious new features.

One thing I am now able to do, should I chose to, is to create a list of books that I have read or at least checked out.  I have asked our friendly librarians about this possibility for years. It may seem weird to some most of you but I occasionally like to think about books I’ve read and this particular element could come in very handy.

Heart aflutter and fingers itching with excitement I clicked on the button indicating I could create a new list. Ah, the anticipation…until I saw this message:

The feature you have selected is associated with personal data in your library account. Such data may be accessed by law enforcement personnel without your consent. Do you wish to continue?


This brings up more than one question.

Just what types of materials are being housed at my friendly public library?

What will the law enforcement personnel do with such data AND who will extrapolate crucial information about me from my reading habits?

Is it possible the law enforcement people want to start a book discussion group and are looking for a good book suggestion.

Wouldn’t it just be easier to ask the reference librarian for what’s trending in our area?

Will such information be used to force me into a new career such as becoming a Sous Chef? Remember, if you will, that I am challenging myself to read a book a month about something I know nothing about. Fortunately I will not be coerced into climbing a mountain because I borrowed THAT book from a friend and not the library.

Perhaps you think I am over reacting.

I was thinking about this the other day as I was selecting reading material at the library.

Adhesive bandage-equipped book!

Adhesive bandage-equipped book!

Apparently someone is concerned for my well being as I found the beginning of a first aid kit tucked into the back cover of a book.  (It was not the one about being a chef so I don’t think it was a warning about chopping off my fingers).

I did not realize that a list stored on our library server could cause law enforcement agents to be interested in a seemingly ordinary woman in a seemingly ordinary city.

The band aid is perplexing unless my speed reading page flipping is going to result in a paper cut. I’m guessing the band aid will prevent me from bleeding on the book making it harder for my law enforcement friends to locate me through trace DNA samples.

I will be sure to keep you updated on these curious happenings associated with the library. Meanwhile, keep reading!



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