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Reflection on Participatory Service & Transparency

Overdue fines were waived on patron’s accounts when my library first closed due to the COVID pandemic, so patrons would be able to access the online resources. We are finally back to our regular hours, and our director thought it would be an excellent time to go fine-free permanently. Luckily, the library board agreed. We went fine-free for the same reasons Nashville Public Library and Salt Lake City Library did “to remove a barrier to library borrowing-blocked card privileges due to fines and to provide equitable access to as many patrons as possible” (Dixon, 2017). Many libraries are going fine-free, and they are seeing a massive increase in items getting returned. The Chicago Public Library saw an increase of 240% in book returns in a three-week period (Yu, 2020). We care more about getting books into the hands of children and people than we do about collecting a few cents. The fines at our library never were accounted for in the budget; they have never been part of our revenue. I have always had an issue holding a child accountable for overdue items because it’s not their fault if their parents/caregivers didn’t return the items; then, as adults, they can’t use the library because of their parents. Last week, I just had a young lady tell me she probably couldn’t get a new card because her mom had fines on her account. In the past, we have also done “amnesties in exchange for food bank items,” but it never seems like enough (Sifton, 2009).

We have not publicly announced that we are now a fine-free library; we still tell patrons we haven’t started charging because of the pandemic. There will be people in our community that will not agree with our fine-free decision. Once already since we have opened back up, an ex-board member went to pay her fines, and I explained how we still were not charging fines. She was not too pleased with that and said that people would keep books forever if there were no fines. I tried to explain that it was not the case that it actually encourages patrons to return items, but I know others will say the same thing.

I found the Fine Free Map fascinating I did not realize that many libraries were going fine-free, and we should get put on there once we announce that we are fine-free. Salt Lake City Library also stated doing autorenewals (Dixon, 2017). I am still unsure of how I feel about autorenewals, and I don’t think my library is to that point on implementing that, but maybe in the future.


Dixon, J. A. (2017, July 11). Nashville, Salt Lake City, Columbus eliminate fines. Library Journal. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2017/07/funding/nashville-salt-lake-city-columbus-eliminate-fines/.

Fine free map. Urban Libraries Council. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.urbanlibraries.org/member-resources/fine-free-map.

 Sifton, D. J. (2009). The Last Taboo: Abolishing Library Fines. Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.21083/partnership.v4i1.935

Yu, C. (2020, July 3). Chapel Hill Public Library announces it will no longer charge late fines. The Daily Tar Heel. Retrieved from https://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2020/07/ch-library-fine-0703.

Context Book: Drive

Drive By Daniel Pink (Book Summary And Discussion On Tapping Into The Power Of Your Intrinsic Motivation )

What motivates us?

Many of us probably think it is the carrot and stick approach, where either you are rewarded, or there are consequences. Daniel Pink, the author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, has another theory. Pink’s motivational theory is made of three elements autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Let’s define these elements:

autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives

mastery – the urge to get better or develop skills

and purpose – the need to do what we do for reasons bigger than ourselves (TED Summaries, 2014)

Pink discusses different types of behaviors Type I and Type X. Type X “is fueled more by extrinsic desires than intrinsic ones” this behavior cares more about the external rewards (Pink, 2009, p. 77). Type I “is fueled by intrinsic desires” this behavior tends to care more about the inherent satisfaction of the activity (Pink, 2009, p. 77).

Pink’s motivational theory can be used in libraries to motivate library staff.


Pink’s four T’s of autonomy include task, time, technique, and team (Pink, 2009, pp. 86-108). Many of us don’t like to be told what to do. You spend your whole childhood listening to your parents, your teachers, your caregivers. Even as an adult, there are rules to follow, including being told what to do by your boss. However, once I know my bosses’ expectations, I like to work how I want to work. I want to choose which project needs my attention, understanding there are deadlines. I want to be complete the tasks the way I want to with my choice of teammates if possible. I feel that having some freedom actually does motivate me. I know my responsibilities and will get the job done, my way.


Mastery speaks for itself. We want to be better at what we do, and we keep trying until we become better; being better is motivation. Pink’s three laws of mastery include mastery is a mindset, mastery is a pain, and mastery is an asymptote. While you may never fully master the skill, you have to want to get better. No matter what your job is in the library, you should try to become better—any skill that you have you should want to improve.


Last but not least, the library’s purpose is to serve the community, to provide a service to the community. The work we do in the library and for the community should be enough to motivate us.

Pink’s elements of autonomy, mastery, and purpose look at motivation in a new way, not the traditional carrot and stick approach.


Goff-Dupont, S. (2019, October 3). 5 questions about motivation with Daniel Pink. Worklife. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://www.danpink.com/resource/5-questions-about-motivation-with-daniel-pink/.

Pink, D. H. (2009). Drive : the surprising truth about what motivates us. Riverhead Books.

TED Summaries. (2014, June 5). Dan pink: The puzzle of motivation. TED Summaries. Retrieved September 11, 2021, from https://tedsummaries.com/2014/06/06/dan-pink-the-puzzle-of-motivation/.

Two simple questions that can change your life. Daniel H. Pink | The official site of author Daniel Pink. (2013, July 15). Retrieved September 15, 2021, from https://www.danpink.com/2010/01/2questionsvideo/.

Motivation - Pink (Three Elements of Intrinsic Motivation) | tutor2u

Reflection Blog – Foundational Readings

I started out reading Buckland’s (1992) Redesigning Library Services: A Manifesto, and there were the words “developing a strategic plan for a library’s development.” Just last week at my library, the board chairman, library director, and four managers met for the board chairman to inform us that we will be doing a strategic plan. A long story short, the director already told the managers she was unsure of why we had to attend this meeting because we would not be doing the strategic plan she would be. This comment put us in an uncomfortable situation, and it was hard to feel that we have a voice. Even when I read Mathews (2012) Think like a startup, it confirmed my ideas of thinking outside the box “we have to extend our imaginations”… “what we really need right now are breakthrough, paradigm-shifting, transformative, and disruptive ideas” (p. 1). Mathews goes on to say that “it’s the responsibility of the administration to foster and inspire” (p. 10). In my library, that is not happening; therefore, it’s hard to get managers or other staff involved when they know the administration is not on board with them having any input.

One of many things I found  in the Mathews reading is “don’t just expand services, solve problems.” Another issue I am having; I live in a rural area, we don’t have a Staples store or any other office supply business. At the library, we currently do not offer scanning or wireless printing. I feel these are services the library should provide, as I am sure most other libraries offer these services, this would solve one of the communities’ problems.

I also agree with what Casey & Savastinuk (2007) said about communication “a certain level of communication is vital to workplace morale and overall operations. A team of staff members that fails to communicate with each other cannot succeed” (p. 4). Communication is another issue we have in my library.  The director doesn’t communicate, managers are overworked, so they are not communicating, and other staff won’t ask the questions they need to because they don’t want to bother anyone.

These readings just confirmed what I already thought about my library; we have a lot of work to do.


Buckland, M. K. (1992). Redesigning library services: A manifesto. American Library Association. 

Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Information Today.

Mathews, B. (2012). Think like a startup.