Public library receipt shows how much money you saved by borrowing instead of buying books

Originally published at:

1 Like

From their Confidentiality of Library Records page at it would appear that the library doesn’t delete borrowing history to make it not just private but also subpoena proof. That would be illegal in Europe (to keep unnecessary PI) under the new privacy leglislation.


Wichita is almost completely unlike Europe. Libraries in the US are funded and run ad-hoc by local communities. I would not be surprised to see card catalogs and paper files in some rural libraries.


I was wondering if the libraries would keep record of one’s borrowing history. I believe libraries in my area do not.

It would be possible just to keep record of dollar amount and not history. Obviously, that dollar amount still leaks some information about the patron. It depends on the library system whether or not they even want that kind of information.

For the most part, I believe librarians are quite the privacy rights advocates.


I am quite sure I have saved 10’s of thousands of dollars in the past few years using my local library and I have never checked out a book.

My local library lends tools, telescopes, microscopes and equipment for bands (amps, lights, mics, speakers, etc).

I check out the FLIR thermal imaging camera at least a few times a year for one thing or another, the last few months to help me find animals living in the walls of the old farmhouse my partner and I purchased.

Go Ann Arbor District Library!!


In my own library (Strasbourg, France) I once asked where I could find an history of my own borrowing, and the librarian explained to me it was against the law to keep that kind of data.
But I think those receipts are a great idea, maybe you could give an average cost to books CD and DVD and make something similar ?

Our library does this (small suburb of a big city in Ohio). I assume it’s a standard feature of whatever off the shelf software solution they use for lending.

1 Like

Right? I just found out that at my local library, I can check out a metal detector!


Waiting for the pushback from places like Home Derpot that rent equipment…
eta: Just noticed my HD typo; I think I’ll let it stand.

1 Like

You’ve just ripped off the authors of the books you’ve read to the tune of ____.

But, I too am a library user far more than a book buyer.

My local library deletes patronage records unless you tell them not to. I’ve told them not to because I sometimes check things out more than once, and I don’t want to forget.

Aren’t authors usually paid in advance?

Furthermore, many countries have Public Lending Rights which pay an author according to the number of times their books is rented. Admittedly, it’s not the kind of money you’re going to be retiring on.

Leaders in the field. My own library makes borrowing history opt-in (real opt-in, not some tricky thing).

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.