Tuesday 5 November 2013

Big Brother???

Today I went to the library to return a couple of books, which I’d checked out two weeks ago. Recently, our library installed self-checkout machines, where you can checkout, return, or renew books yourself. So, I walked straight up to one machine and hit the ‘return’ button. A second later, my two books appeared on the screen.

It took me a second before I realized something was wrong. I hadn’t scanned my library card. I hadn’t even taken my wallet out of my pocket. Moreover, I had not taken the two books out of my bag...

I looked around in the way you do when something isn’t right, as though you expect to see your friends hiding by the corner of a bookshelf laughing and pointing. There was nothing.

I can only assume that, somehow, the scanner managed to pick up my two books through the bag. It’s a weak answer, but it’s the only one I’ve got...unless the machine is reading fingerprints...


  1. The libraries are now using the latest system, Heuristic Application for Libraries.

  2. The scanner could probably pick up the magnetic tags in the books.

  3. As per MBG comment they picked up the tags. You only need to scan your card to 'borrow' normally.