"To develop and support library trustees to advance public library service in British Columbia"


The Role of Libraries in Understanding Eyewitness Misidentification

Why is Eyewitness Misidentification a Concern?

Eyewitness misidentification has been a leading cause of wrongful convictions in the criminal justice system. In numerous cases, innocent individuals have been sent to prison based on mistaken eyewitness identifications. Research has shown that human memory is fallible and subject to various cognitive biases, such as malleability and suggestibility. These factors can significantly impact the accuracy of eyewitness testimony.

The Role of Libraries in Raising Awareness

Libraries serve as information hubs, providing access to a wide range of resources that shed light on the issue of eyewitness misidentification. They house books, articles, and scholarly journals that delve into the psychology of memory and the factors that contribute to misidentifications. These resources educate the general public and legal professionals about the limitations of human memory and the potential pitfalls of relying solely on eyewitness testimony.

Library Programs and Initiatives

Libraries actively engage in raising awareness about eyewitness misidentification through various programs and initiatives. They organize seminars, workshops, and lectures, inviting experts in the field to share their insights. These events offer opportunities for individuals to learn about the latest research and case studies related to the phenomenon. By disseminating knowledge, libraries empower communities to critically evaluate eyewitness testimony and consider alternative sources of evidence.

Collaboration with Legal Professionals

Libraries also collaborate with legal professionals to ensure accurate and reliable legal proceedings. They work closely with public defenders, prosecutors, and judges to promote understanding of the inherent risks associated with relying solely on eyewitness identifications. Libraries offer resources that help legal professionals stay informed about the evolving scientific understanding of memory and its implications for the justice system.

Overcoming Barriers to Information Access

One of the challenges in addressing eyewitness misidentification is ensuring that individuals have access to quality information. Libraries provide a free and open space for people to explore various perspectives on the topic. They offer unbiased resources that present different viewpoints, enabling individuals to make informed decisions based on comprehensive and reliable information.


Libraries play a vital role in society by fostering knowledge and understanding. In the context of eyewitness misidentification, they serve as catalysts for change, providing resources, programs, and collaborations that promote awareness and critical thinking. By actively engaging with this issue, libraries contribute to the pursuit of justice and the prevention of wrongful convictions.