I know it's a narrow line we librarians walk between privacy and access, and that sometimes it's difficult to decide where to draw it.
I went to the Tompkins Square branch of the New York Public Library like I do many Wednesdays (cuz that's the night they're open until 8). After I returned my books, waiting in a line full of eye-rolling patrons, longer than it had to be as the circ person navigated the new system, I went to check to see any of my holds had come in. Btw I don't mind the new combined catalog; I think it's pretty much a good idea. The only irritation I have with it so far is that it doesn't show where you are on line with your holds (e.g. #3 of 40 people waiting for the next of 2 copies). I assume the hold notification system is working, but honestly, I check the hold shelf every time I go in there, whether I'm expecting a book or not.
What I'm leading up to is what I saw when I went to the hold shelf: names! In the old system I think the first 4 letters of your last name were somewhere on the hold slip, but the way you identified your item was by the last 4 digits of your library card. It's a little awkward the first time, and once I jumbled up the numbers in my head and couldn't find my book at first, until I realized what I'd done. (The last 4 digits of my library card are eerily close to the number assigned to my by my high school.) Anyway, what did I see on the hold shelf? Names? Fully spelled out last names on the hold slips on the books. I guess NYPL came down on the side of access on this one, huh? It sure is more user friendly.
But as for privacy, it sucks. I hope the library still has a policy of not revealing to anyone but the patron what materials s/he has checked out, but I guess it's a different story when it comes to what the patron intends to check out. A person could easily spy on the reading habits of family members, friends, enemies, neighbors--anyone whose last name they know. Creepy, huh? Dangerous, even.