No PIN required for self-checkout machines

You wrote:

The removal of the passwords on the self-check-out is dangerous.

I have on two occasions found student ID cards. I gave them to security, but what if the policy had been in place, and someone else had found the cards?

Can you really say the student is responsible for stolen books on their card if you do this?

When a credit card is stolen the card company assumes the cost of the theft, is the library willing to do this?


I’m shocked to see that password is no longer required to borrow books using the self check-out machines. I would like the library to tell me what the policy will be regarding books checked out on a card that was lost or stolen. I understand that, in any case, students must always report a stolen ID card as soon as they notice the card is missing, but noticing that the card is missing is not instantaneous. I can honestly think of no other instances where a card can be used by a complete stranger like this. A debit card requires a pin, and a credit card holder is not liable for purchases made on a stolen card, even if these purchases were made before the card was reported stolen.

Everyone agrees that security must be improved with these kinds of devices, so what is the reasoning behind this unannounced change? And will students be held responsible for books “borrowed” on a stolen card? Will there be a maximum amount of money one must pay?

Thank you for your comments and questions. On March 19th, the Libraries announced that a PIN would no longer be required when using a library self-check machine. This is one of those tricky situations where the need for simplicity is measured against the need for security.

It is true that the present system of not requiring a PIN at the self-checkout machines is not as secure as it was in the past. However, abuse of the system can only happen at the self-checkout machines. Nowhere else. Therefore, if a student reports that items were checked out on his/her record without his/her knowledge, we can tell what terminal they were checked out from. If the item was loaned out at a self-checkout machine, staff will take this information into account when deciding how to handle lost book charges, etc.

So, since –

  • there is a limited number of places where a problem can occur
  • similar systems have been in place in other universities for over ten years
  • we want to make it easier for students to use the self-checkout service, especially after regular service hours

PINs are no longer required for self-checkout. That said, if students notice that they have lost their id cards, they should report it asap.

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