Students in Manchester are having their thumbprints digitally transformed into electronic codes, which can then be recognised by a computer program.
Under the scheme, pupils swipe a bar code inside the book they want borrow then press their thumb on to a scanner to authorise the loan. Books are returned in the same way.
The scheme is being trialled on junior classes at Higher Lane Primary in Whitefield, Bury, Greater Manchester.
Officials confirmed it is due to be extended to all pupils at the school, one of the areas largest primary schools, with 453 pupils aged four to 11.
School authorities defended the scheme on Thursday, and moved to reassure parents that the voluntary system, is heavily encrypted or coded and that no images of fingerprints would be stored.
But critics said they were “appalled” at the system, developed by Microsoft which is also being trialled in other parts of the country.'