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).
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- Tourangeau, R., Rips, L.J., and Rasinski, K. (2000) The Psychology of Survey Response. Cambridge University Press.
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