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Library Fines and Borrowing Policies UX Study

In March 2017, the UX Team investigated users’ perceptions and behaviours associated with library borrowing and fine policies.

Research Questions

  • What do users’ know and think about the library’s borrowing and fine policies?
  • How do users behave with respect to the library’s borrowing and fine policies?


  • We conducted interviews with 8 users
  • We then conducted 7 guerrilla interviews with users who were in the process of checking out books at the self-checkout machines

What did we Learn?

  • Most users were not aware of the library ’s fines and borrowing policies
  • Users who were aware that money from library fines supported worthwhile causes had a more positive attitude towards fines
  • Most users expressed concern that if fines were eliminated there would be little incentive to return books
  • The threat of a fine does not factor strongly into users decisions to return a book. The primary reasons users do not return a book is forgetfulness.

Our Recommendations

  • Explore the possibility of eliminating fines
  • Communicate to users about what the library does with money collected from fines
  • Improve email communications about due and overdue books
  • Improve the timing of email notifications
  • Explore text message notifications
  • Improve communications about borrowing policies
Year of Study: