[Libs-Or] What age do you stop requiring a parent/guardian signature? Also, privacy questions.

Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney kbrodbeck-kenney at lincolncity.org
Thu Apr 23 15:33:47 PDT 2015

Hi all,
I've got a question for the hive mind. We have always required a parental signature for all library cards to individuals under 18. The reasoning has always been that individuals under 18 are minors and thus their parents can be held responsible for items that they check out. Of course, this causes problems for us when it comes to getting older teens signed up for cards, and I'm wondering if we're being unnecessarily draconian about it. At what age do you allow a patron to obtain a card without a parent/guardian signature?
Relatedly, do you have a set age at which you no longer provide parents with information about what their child has checked out from the library? At my current library, the policy has been that the parent/guardian who signed off on the card has access to the account, but I've never been 100% comfortable with this as a best practice for older teens. On the other hand, if the parent is ultimately responsible for the materials checked out on the card, then it makes sense that they would have access... At a previous library I worked at, we would not release account information for any child older than twelve, but this created a lot of customer service issues with parents who just wanted to get their kid's card back in good standing.
I'm hoping to hear some good thoughts from you!

Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney, MLIS
Library Director
Driftwood Public Library
801 SW Hwy 101, #201
Lincoln City, OR 97367
541-996-1251 (desk)
541-996-1262 (fax)

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