Why must I give you my address, phone number, etc. to merely get a book
delivered/placed on hold? This is outrageous to me! All you need to do
your job is my school ID number. Any other requirements puts my personal
information at risk and wastes my time.
Beth Burton of Circulation & Information Services replies...
Thank you for writing with your concerns, Gabriel. I appreciate the efforts you are taking to protect your identity and those of your fellow VCU students, faculty and staff members. We actually have made this change to ask for your address and phone number in order to forgo asking for your social security number.
Last year, VCU Libraries conducted a libraries-wide examination of all our forms. We made sure they all replaced the social security number with a new form of identification. The item request form was assessed at that time, as well. We knew we had to have more than a student's name, because there are several students in our database who have identical names. We hoped to use the new 8-digit school ID number, too, but we discovered that there are many students who have not yet found a convenient way to access their new ID numbers, and have been too busy to commit that number to memory. We also considered asking for the 16-digit VCU Card number, but found that there is sometimes a significant delay in the update of new VCU Card information when a student loses an old card. In addition, some students have other, risky information tied to that card number too, such as Rambucks and Dining Dollars. We decided at that time that the safest information we could ask for would be name, address, and phone number, because these forms of information are the most publicly available. They are also easier to search for in our library database.
Now, I hope you won't give up hope, because as our head of Research and Reference Services, Mary Ellen Spencer, mentioned in the Suggestion Blog on September 9, 2005, library staff members are currently working on a project that will make it possible to place holds directly from our catalog by using your My Library Record account. This step will remove the necessity of typing in your name, address and telephone number. This project is currently in the testing phase, but we will let you know via the "What's New"column on our website as soon as the transition takes place.
Again, thanks for your care and concern for the VCU community.