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“Intrusive” questions for Islington library card criticised

PUBLISHED: 14:50 31 August 2011 | UPDATED: 15:00 31 August 2011

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Intrusive questions on library card application forms in Islington have come under fire.

Residents who want to become members of libraries in the borough are issued with an equalities monitoring form which grills them on any disabilities and hidden impairments such as cancer or HIV, sexual orientation, whether they are transgender or consider themselves a traveller or gipsy.

The Tax Payers’ Alliance has hit out at the optional questionnaire as a waste of public money but Islington Council stressed it was not compulsory and the form wasn’t dissimilar from those issued in other boroughs.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “Taxpayers will be alarmed to discover their hard-earned cash is being wasted on such unnecessary and intrusive questions for people who just want to take out a book.

Cllr Paul Convery, executive member for regeneration, planning and parking, said: “We want to know the extent to which new library users reflect the demography of our existing users and our population.

“This is a pretty standard business principle – know your customers – not intimate details but basic stuff.”

A spokesman for Islington Council went on to point out that all you need to obtain a library card is your name, address and postcode, and he stressed that the equalities form was entirely optional.

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