Category Archives: Libraries

Yarra Plenty Regional Library Contracts BiblioCommons

In the public interest.

The use of foreign IT platforms to access libraries, to borrow, extend loans etc. is the beginning of digitisation but more importantly it allows foreign IT digital companies to be in a position of licencing their IT software to make an ongoing profit and to gather and share data.

The days of being able to go to a library and no be identified, filmed, barcoded and monitored are over. People are being asked for ID when there is no reason why security need be ramped up. This is big brother under the guise of protecting the public. I am glad I am in my 50’s as I couldn’t bare to be in this type of world as a young person who will be constantly identified, nothing in their lives will be private. I urge people to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy statements, as they impact our future freedoms.

I do not consent to data gathering, profiling, sharing of my data. I also do not consent to access being denied if I disagree as a democratic citizen. I am not a consumer.

This is an interesting comment. It is noteworthy as iPhones and other data gatherers indicate they will pass on information to law enforcement. I am all for a WARRANT. I think that is a fair comment.

Another interesting statement from below:

You can opt out of recording your non-identifying site-activity data on Google Analytics by installing the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. The add-on prevents the Google Analytics JavaScript (gtag.js, ga.js, analytics.js, and dc.js) that is running on websites from sharing information with Google Analytics about visit activity.

BiblioCommons does not share information in response to law enforcement requests unless it is presented with a warrant or other legal compulsion.

Here are the terms and conditions of BiblioCommons

BiblioCommons International Privacy Statement

Last updated: Apr 15, 2019

Yarra Plenty Regional Library has entered into an agreement with BiblioCommons to provide an online service that will make it easier to track your holds and renewals and find the titles you are looking for. In addition, you may also choose to use this service to share ratings and commentary about the titles you find at Yarra Plenty Regional Library, and to connect with other library users. When you use the pages in Yarra Plenty Regional Library’s catalogue that say “Powered by BiblioCommons” in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, you are using what is referred to in this document as the “BiblioCommons Service,” and any information that is collected or shared here will be governed by this Privacy Statement. The problem is that this can change and we are expected to be aware. It is complex and fraught with privacy and hacking issues. The fact companies are based in either the US or in this case Canada, means they are outside Australian laws enter public services where personal data is held.

I personally do not consent to data sharing by a foreign company where it is not clear to the public that this is happening, as they are not fully informed, nor do they have a say or vote in it. It makes democracy a word.

BiblioCommons believes that effective privacy controls are the cornerstone of open and engaged communities. We have implemented the standards described on this page to protect the privacy of all users, at the same time providing the opportunity to share information about books, movies and music for those who are interested. By using the BiblioCommons Service, you agree to the terms of this BiblioCommons Privacy Statement and the BiblioCommons Terms of Use. The BiblioCommons Privacy Statement and BiblioCommons Terms of Use can be accessed anytime through the links at the bottom of each page that is powered by BiblioCommons; together they are the only documents that govern your relationship with BiblioCommons.

Is this the only policy governing the use of my information on services offered by the library?

No. Information you provide on the BiblioCommons Service may be transmitted to your library and its designated service partners, where it will be handled according to the policies your library has implemented in those environments. Please check the library’s website to view these documents, or speak to a librarian.

Yarra Plenty Regional Library may have additional policies that govern other aspects of the services we offer. Please check the library’s homepage to view these documents, or speak to a librarian.

What types of information are collected on this service?

Several types of information may be collected and stored on the BiblioCommons service:

  • Personal information
  • Borrowing information
  • Shared content
  • Feedback and Suggestions
  • Non-Identifying information.

You will find a description of how this information is handled in the sections that follow.

Personal Information

What personal information is gathered?

BiblioCommons gathers personal information that you provide or choose to import from Yarra Plenty Regional Library. If you register for the BiblioCommons Service, your library barcode, PIN and borrower ID, name, birth month and year, and email address are automatically loaded into your on-line account from your library record. If some of this information is not available in your record you may be asked to provide it.

If you participate in some optional services, for example youth and literacy programs, BiblioCommons may also ask for additional information, such as your ZIP/postal code, education level and gender, in order to support program evaluation.

How is my personal information used?

We use your personal information to create an online account in your name, provide the services that you have requested, monitor and improve the service, keep your library record up to date, and customize content. We may store some of this information in a secure third-party data repository. We do not share your information or activity with ad networks or other entities that are not directly involved in the services you choose to use.

If you choose to share information or opinions about books, movies, music, and other topics, participate in online conversations, or create selections using Lists or My Shelves (“Shared Content”), information such as the username or name you have chosen to display, your library affiliation(s) and age group may accompany your Shared Content and appear on a profile page that summarizes your Shared Content. If you would like to change your username or modify the information that is made publicly available in connection with these features, please visit your Settings.

BiblioCommons may disclose your personal information and any content associated with your account if required to do so by law or in a good faith belief that such disclosure is reasonably necessary to: (a) satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request, or (b) enforce the Terms of Use, including investigation of potential violations hereof.

Is my personal information protected?

Information in your BiblioCommons account that personally identifies you is encrypted and stored in a secured facility in Canada. This information will be used by BiblioCommons and Yarra Plenty Regional Library to deliver the services you request in accordance with this Privacy Statement. BiblioCommons will not share, gift, sell, rent or trade your personal information (e.g., your email address or month and year of birth). But we may display Shared Content (defined below) in the BiblioCommons Service, or make other commercial uses of Shared Content.

Law Enforcement Requests

BiblioCommons does not share information in response to law enforcement requests unless it is presented with a warrant or other legal compulsion.

Can I change or delete my personal information?

You may alter or delete any of the personal information in your BiblioCommons account except for your name, birth information and your library card number(s); please contact your library staff to make changes to these. If your personal information is updated either through the BiblioCommons Service or directly on your Yarra Plenty Regional Library account with the help of library staff, we will synchronize the new information in both locations.

At any time, you may delete your BiblioCommons account without deleting your Yarra Plenty Regional Library account. To delete your BiblioCommons account, please contact the BiblioCommons Privacy Officer. Note that while your BiblioCommons account information will not be available after deletion, some of that information may persist on memory discs.

Do I have to provide contact information?

No, you do not need to provide contact information to use the BiblioCommons Service. However you may choose to do so in order to receive notices related to your use of the library through the BiblioCommons Service. Your contact information will not be used by BiblioCommons for any other purpose without your consent, or shared with any party other than Yarra Plenty Regional Library without your direction to do so. We encourage you to check Yarra Plenty Regional Library’s policies to understand the other ways in which your contact information may be used by Yarra Plenty Regional Library.

BiblioCommons may send email or display messages on the service that provide you with the choice to take advantage of new features and functionality based on your past activity and stated preferences. To change your preferences for system messaging, please go to My Settings.

What measures are in place to protect children?

Parts of the BiblioCommons Service are open to children under the age of thirteen. However additional measures have been taken to protect their privacy and safety. Patrons under the age of thirteen (13) years (“minors”) will be restricted from using the BiblioCommons Service to communicate directly with other patrons; provision may be made for a more permissive service for minors with parental consent. While the Terms of Use prohibits the use of the BiblioCommons Service to arrange meetings with minors, children should be advised never to arrange meetings with strangers over the Internet.

Community-created content may not be appropriate for children. The BiblioCommons Service contains functionality that will enable you to collapse community-created content that has been flagged by Users who feel the content may be offensive to some users. Enabling this functionality will help decrease the likelihood of children encountering objectionable material when using the BiblioCommons Service.

Where can I learn more about internet safety for users under the age of 18?

We recommend that parents and guardians discuss internet privacy and safety with their children. When using the internet, children should be advised:

  • never to give out personal information such as their real name, phone number, email address, or school without first consulting their parents or guardians, and
  • never to arrange a meeting with someone they met online.

More information about children’s safety online can be found on the following sites.

Safety tips for children:

Tips for parents:

Borrowing Information

Is my borrowing record tracked?

No. Lists of your current loans, due dates, outstanding fees, etc. may be loaded from your library record during your sessions online, but this information is not stored on your BiblioCommons account, and it is never shared with other users. You may choose to create a record of your recently-borrowed titles if this service is supported by your library; information about recently borrowed items is never made available to the public unless you choose to enter specific titles on your shelves or in other Shared Content. If you do not choose to enable the recently-borrowed feature, no automatic record of your borrowing will be created.

Shared Content

What is Shared Content?

You may use the BiblioCommons Service to record information or opinions about books, movies, music, and other topics, participate in online conversations, or create selections using Lists or My Shelves; all of this content is called “Shared Content”. Shared Content may be useful for your own reference and can help other users find resources and information.

When you contribute content to an individual title, that title is automatically added to My Shelves, a collection that gathers all of the titles to which you have contributed content or chosen to add to your shelves. You may also create Shared Content by interacting with others through messaging, forums, or collaborative guides.

Can Shared Content be viewed by the public?

Shared Content has been designed for sharing, and is usually public. However you may make portions of your Shared Content private by using your Privacy Settings. In addition, messages sent directly to other users through the service are not publicly viewable.

If you are uncomfortable with the idea of sharing content with others, you may decide not to use My Shelves or contribute ratings, comments, guides, or other types of Shared Content. You do not need to create Shared Content in order to use the BiblioCommons Service.

Will my name be visible with my Shared Content?

Content and messages that you leave in public view or send to other users will be accompanied by the username that you create, or by whatever display name that you choose at a later date in your account settings. This display name is also linked to your profile page, which includes links to your Shelves, your shared Lists, and any other profile information you choose to display.

Can I change my Shared Content?

Shared Content that is not interactive may be edited or deleted on this service at any time. Deleted content is removed from our data bases and inaccessible to other users, but may remain in our data back-up system and in third-party search indexes like Google. Shared Content that is not deleted may remain available on the BiblioCommons Service indefinitely, even if you have closed your library account.

Messages and chat cannot be deleted or edited once they have been sent. They are logged and archived indefinitely. In the event of complaints regarding violations of the BiblioCommons Terms of Use, this type of information may be used by BiblioCommons to investigate.

Interactive Shared Content that other users may respond or contribute to, such as discussions or collaborative guides, may be visible to others indefinitely in association with your display name, and may persist after your BiblioCommons account is terminated.

Other Information

Feedback and Suggestions

When you submit feedback or suggestions they will not be considered confidential and may be stored with your name and email address for analysis and follow-up.

Non-Identifying Information

BiblioCommons also records anonymous information and activity in order to improve the quality and scope of the features and content you access through the BiblioCommons Service. For example:

  • Information such as your browser type or IP address may be used to help us understand how visitors use the service over time and how it might be improved.
  • Data from your account may also be aggregated in an anonymous way.
  • Anonymous search logs are analyzed to improve the search algorithms.
  • Activity such as borrowing and reading may be aggregated anonymously to guide the development of the library’s collections or to allow publishers to understand how their titles are being used.
  • Non-identifying information may be stored in a secure online service such as Google Analytics for use by BiblioCommons or your library. You can opt out of recording your non-identifying site-activity data on Google Analytics by installing the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. The add-on prevents the Google Analytics JavaScript (gtag.js, ga.js, analytics.js, and dc.js) that is running on websites from sharing information with Google Analytics about visit activity.


Cookies are small files used to enhance the functionality of websites.

BiblioCommons may set and access temporary session cookies on your computer in order to make our system easier for you to use. In addition, a more persistent cookie is used to store your user preferences. These files do not contain or transfer any personally-identifiable information.

You may also choose on the log-in page to save your username in a cookie by checking “remember me.”

If you wish to be notified when you receive a cookie, you may set your browser to do so.

External Sites

The Internet is a big place: take care to guard your personally identifying information. This website may link to other websites that collect personal information. We recommend that you review the privacy policies of these sites before providing them with any personal data.

Changes to this Privacy Statement

This privacy statement may change from time to time in response to new laws, or to an evolution in BiblioCommons policies or practices. We encourage you to check this privacy statement from time to time for changes. Your continued use of BiblioCommons after a change will signify your acceptance of the new terms.

Change of Service

In the event that Yarra Plenty Regional Library discontinues its participation in the BiblioCommons Service, the Yarra Plenty Regional Library may transfer your information to a new service of a similar nature. In addition, Yarra Plenty Regional Library may agree to have your information transferred to a successor entity of BiblioCommons or to any entity which purchases substantially all of the assets related to BiblioCommons or a division of BiblioCommons.

Comments? Questions? Contact us.

Privacy Officer
119 Spadina Avenue, suite 1000
Toronto, ON M5V 2L1, Canada
tel. 1 (647) 436 6381

Are Libraries No Longer Public?

In the public interest.

I am concerned about the corporatisation of libraries. Where council members are now Board members and there is an executive team. Why is this a problem. It moves the public asset into private hands. You can tell when a public services becomes a corporate asset as the General Manager becomes a Chief Executive Officer. They are not publicising the fact that the public is losing control as they expand into areas that follow other countries.

This article looks briefly at the removal of fines from library returns happening in the United States, clearly we are following. Now people will go great, they will argue that they are reaching disadvantaged audiences but in what they won’t say is they are preparing for online digital delivery and this at some point will have a charge as what was free has to generate income.

It is a tragedy as children get hooked online with faceless faces increasingly controlling information. The importance of reading a book cannot be over emphasised. It activates the left and right side of the brain, it helps with spelling, comprehension and broadening a person’s knowledge. Books are better to read than online because the eyes glide more easily over pages and it is better for the eyes.

Transformative change or disruption is indeed happening and in my view it does not bode well for the public. I am deeply concerned for the wellbeing of children and the future created for them. It is not being done from a perspective of the best interests of the public it is being done to profit. Commercial approaches always favour business interests first.

Removing fines does actually mean that books will go missing, perhaps that is what they want. People won’t bring them back on time and this means when you put a hold on a book you increasingly will not get it. You will be frustrated and digital will look more reliable. Things are not as they seem on the surface. Smart Cities (“Cities”) are implementing the digital reality into every part of our lives. Everyone will be trackable and profiled. The changes are subtle so you can’t say anything but they are happening, not unlike the frog being boiled slowly. That is what I see.

More libraries are going fine-free. That’s good for everyone.

The central Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. (Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun)
The central Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. (Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun)

By Editorial Board ‎June‎ ‎18‎, ‎2018‎ ‎2‎:‎36‎ ‎a.m.‎ ‎AEST

IN AN era when e-books and new forms of entertainment have threatened to drive down library use, public libraries are increasingly looking to modernize and innovate. Some have turned to e-books or digital literacy programs to reach more patrons. Others have opted for a different approach: They have gotten rid of the pesky late fees that drive borrowers away.

Last week, the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore announced it was eliminating fines on overdue books and materials. Though borrowers are still responsible for replacement costs for lost items, the Pratt erased $186,000 in outstanding penalties for 26,000 borrowers and reinstated 13,000 users whose cards were previously blocked due to unpaid fines. In doing so, it joined a growing number of libraries across the country that have decided to go fine-free.

Eliminating these fines serves a laudable purpose: The policy can expand access to library services among groups that might otherwise struggle to return materials on time or keep up with payments, including low-income families, people with disabilities and the elderly. In some cases, as patrons return, fine-free policies can actually work to improve library circulation — and even the library’s bottom line. The Pratt, for example, relies on library fines for less than a quarter of a percent of its annual budget, a figure it believes it could largely save in reduced staff time collecting and processing fines. AD

Proponents of library fines argue that they incentivize borrowers to return books on time and teach personal responsibility. But there is little evidence that fines have any effect on the timely return of library materials. In fact, much of the existing research suggests that they do not affect overdue rates and instead deter readers from borrowing materials in the first place. Libraries have also found that fines heavily affect low-income families and children, excluding the very patrons who rely on libraries the most.

Not every library can afford to follow in the Pratt’s footsteps and jettison fines altogether. Many library systems depend heavily on income from fines to cover their regular expenses. Others might find it more viable to eliminate a subset of fines, such as fines on children’s books. Regardless, the experiences of libraries that have successfully implemented fine-free programs offer food for thought for other networks. Perhaps the days of relentless overdue notices and droves of blocked users are coming to an end.

Read more:

Steve Barker: A library where everybody knows your name

Richard Reyes-Gavilan: How a public library set me free

The Post’s View: Readers win when libraries add e-books, but preserve print, as well

Stephan Barker: Libraries help close the digital divide