With public libraries increasingly eliminating fines as a means of reducing barriers to library access, Milwaukee Public Library and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Information Studies dared to ask the most basic question: why don’t people return their books?
In the fall of 2016, more than 10,000 people in the City of Milwaukee, WI had their fines forgiven and their library privileges restored. Within 90 days, 8% of those individuals found themselves in the same position, with fines and fees blocking access. Would fine elimination solve this problem, or were other factors preventing materials from timely return?
Learn how the research team developed the methodology, executed the study, and what the surprising survey data revealed to help the team better understand the precipitating behavior.
Originally presented July 11, 2019.
- Slideshow (PDF, 47 pgs.)
Includes the survey questions (slides 44–47).
- Barnard, A., & Mcginty, J. C. (2007, December 25). How One Overdue Book Can Hurt a Credit Record. Retrieved January 30, 2018, from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/26/nyregion/26debate.html
- Bundy, A. (2012). In Australia's first national year of reading, another reason why library fines are not so fine. Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services, 25(2), 55–55.
- DeFaveri, A. (2005). Breaking barriers: libraries and socially excluded communities. Information for Social Change, 21, 1–2.
- Dixon, J. (2017). Doing fine(s)? Library Journal,142(6), 40–44.
- Gillis, S. (2017). Can your library go fine-free? Library Journal,142(6), 41–41.
- Heeger, P. (2007). Better late than never. School Library Journal, 53(2), 30–30.
- Kohn, K. (2015). Fine (Free) and Dandy: Libraries Say Good-bye to Overdue Charges. ILA Reporter, 33(6), 18–21.
- Mcmenemy, D. (2010). On library fines. Library Review, 59(2), 78–81. doi:10.1108/00242531011023835.
- Milwaukee Public Library, & Public Policy Forum. (1988). Milwaukee Public Library : Study of potential for user charges and fee based services. Milwaukee, Wis.]: [Milwaukee Public Library].
- State Library of Ohio (2019). Ohio Public Library Statistics: Operating Revenue | Indicator: Fines/ Fees Earnings, 2013. Data Planet™ Statistical Datasets: A SAGE Publishing Resource. (Dataset). Dataset-ID: 078-001-006
- Pogash, C. (2016, March 30). In San Jose, Poor Find Doors to Library Closed. Retrieved January 30, 2018, from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/31/us/in-san-jose-poor-find-doors-to-library-closed.html
- Sifton, D. J. (2009). The Last Taboo: Abolishing Library Fines. Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, 4(1), 1–4. doi:10.21083/partnership.v4i1.935
- Su, Q. (2014). To Fine or Not to Fine: Evaluation of Overdue Policy at Nunavat Public Library Services. [Master’s thesis]. University of Victoria, Canada.
- To Fine or Not to Fine. (1999). American Libraries, 30(8), 75–78.
- Tourangeau, R., Rips, L.J., and Rasinski, K. (2000) The Psychology of Survey Response. Cambridge University Press.
To playback this archived recording you should have either the latest version of Flash running on your computer, or use a browser with native HTML5 support. Please use the most up-to-date version available of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer. A fast Internet connection and computer is recommended.
This webinar (and its archived recording) is intended for the sole use of the webinar registrant, whether an individual or a group. Neither individual nor group registration includes permission to rebroadcast or redistribute this webinar to another individual or to another group not covered in the initial registration. Thank you for your cooperation.
If you have questions or problems accessing a recording, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752).