MONROE, NY - Monroe Free Library will protect its cardholders' accounts with photo identification beginning in April, library executives announced today.

When a library employee scans a patron's card, the same staff monitor that displays the patron's home address and phone number will now show a one-inch photograph.

"We've wanted this for years," said Executive Director Marilyn McIntosh. "And it's for the same reason that clerks check IDs at Costco and the YMCA - because we want to make sure it's really you."

The change that made it possible was an update last year to the computer software that the library uses to check out books and other materials. For the first time, the updated software was able to store image files inside borrowers' records.

The photos are stored on a secure, closed network maintained by the Ramapo Catskill Library System (RCLS), the same agency that stores other secure library data (such as personal information and borrowing records). Patrons who decline to be photographed will be asked to sign a waiver agreeing that they can't contest fines accrued by unauthorized use of their card.

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