University Libraries Faculty Publications

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Fines have long been seen as a method to ensure items are returned on time. Recently the need to charge patrons for not returning items has come into question. Many libraries have gone fine free to gain good will with their patrons and reallocate staff. To better determine the impact incremental fines have on patron behavior, we conducted an experimental study, charging one group fines and not charging the other. We found that there was not a statistically significant change in either fines accumulated or amount of material borrowed. The data suggests patrons keep the item for as long as they need it and return it when they are done.

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