Oops! Service makes some people an open book
It was meant to keep library patrons who borrow ebooks from experiencing services interruptions.
Instead, a new online reminder service from the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Library system sent card information, and the full names and email addresses of some of its patrons, to the wrong people on Friday, March 8.
KTW received several of the emails, which were meant to be sent only to individual library users.
Instead, about 30 people were given each user’s full library-card barcode, which is used to sign into the TNRD’s online library services.
The email addresses of the other recipients are also visible on each email.
Mark Saunders, TNRD’s director of libraries, said 173 email addresses were sent card information mistakenly because of a system error.
Saunders said the renewal-notice emails are new to the TNRD — so new that Friday was the service’s first day of live testing, though previous offline tests had gone off without a hitch.
The idea was to target library users who primarily download ebooks and audiobooks, Saunders said.
“Often they don’t come into the library and they don’t know that their library card is expired,” he said.
“It’s just that, all of a sudden, they can’t get access to any ebooks.”
The service is back offline for the moment.
“We’re going to do more extensive testing on it before we run it again, but it’s not something we expect is going to reoccur,” Saunders said.
“It’s one of those things that happens. It’s unfortunate.”
The library service has flagged all the barcodes that were sent out inadvertently and patrons will have their codes replaced when they renew their cards.
“We’re taking it quite seriously,” Saunders said.
“We know people, when it comes to email, don’t like to see organizations distributing their email to other people.
“That’s certainly something we take very seriously at the library.”