Obiter Dictum

Woman's virtue is man's greatest invention --- Cornelia Otis Skinner

Friday, November 11

This is the kind of thing

that drives librarians absolutely crazy. On the one hand, we deal with an absolutely obscene amount of people who are teetering on the edge of sanity. Sometimes, they have fallen over the edge. We see it every day and interacting with them, as if they are sane, is not always the easiest of things to accomplish.

Oh, the stories we could tell! Maybe I'll get PPC to guest blog on here and tell some of her stories. She's got some GOOOOOOD ones. (none about you, though, Chuck! I don't think. We do have lots of sane patrons as well!)

But, the other side of that coin is this story. Okay, if you were to look over everyone's shoulder to see what they were googling...... This is why librarians react so badly to authority type people wanting to look and see what patrons are reading, and doing on the internet. Where do you draw the line? Is it entirely possible that this man (and this is the first time I've ever heard of this case so I obviously haven't done the research) killed his wife? Of course it is. Is it likely that some of his googling may have been a link into how he did it? Sure. People learn all kinds of strange things on the internets. Are the two necessarily connected? Not necessarily. People check out strange things from the library. Does that mean they are going to commit a crime, or are planning a crime? If a crime does happen, should that be a catalyst for pulling a library patron's record? Or taking a hard drive from the computer lab that said person may have used that day?

The reason this is foremost in my mind (today) is because A. I'm a librarian. You all knew that. B. Because we're thinking about adding a service which provides downloadable audio books/e books. This service, while meshing with out computer system, would still be hosted on its own server.......or something techy like that. Anyway, we, as a library system, don't keep a record of everything you have ever checked out. Once you return it, the record of you having checked it out is gone forever. This audio company, however, does keep records of everything you have ever checked out from their service. Technically, they wouldn't be our records, but still. It kind of gave everyone pause when they heard that. Nobody wants to get involved in that sticky situation.


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