As fascinating as many of the Futures Conference programs were, I was struck by an activity conducted by Joan Frye Williams during her “What Got Us Here Won’t Get Us There” session, during which she asked participants to develop a list of practices and activities that should be stopped, and forever rest in peace. The items on the resulting collective list reflect almost every aspect of library operations. Following is a sampling of R.I.P. activities on the list.

Creating a rule to solve every problem
Stop prohibiting coffee in the building
Stop listening to staff first when they try to hold on to old ways that preserve the status quo.
Stop doing brochures and flyers that the civilians cannot understand.
Stop top down approval for every little or big good idea that staff suggests.
Stop charging fines.
Stop maintaining the service desk as a barrier to service.
Stop using ‘Library’ words with the public.
Stop collecting popular materials for our collection.
Stop having high level librarians sit idle at the reference desk.
Depart from “it’s always been done that way”, encourage others to do the same.
Stop controlling staff Wiki content.
Stop expecting perfect records in OPAC.
Stop obsessing over library processes and structures.
Stop assuming we know the customer.
Stop cataloging to the 11th degree.
Stop hiding behind my desk and greet customers.
Stop departmentalizing…”that’s ref’s job, that’s circ’s job” It’s everyone’s job!

What are your potential R.I.P. activities?

To view the entire list, visit the Mid-Atlantic Futures Conference Website.


Remember that PowerPoint that Peggy and Barbara stayed up until 2 am to put together? Here it is… comments from the World Cafe contributed by all those who attended the World Cafe…

We’ve set up a flickr group, why not join and submit your pictures from the event too? Meanwhile take a look at the page to see the photos already posted.

Let’s get the dialogue going… add your comments about the conference here!

From New Jersey State Librarian Norma Blake’s Blog, Blake’s Blog….
The Mid-Atlantic Library Futures Conference was a spectacular success. More than 360 of your colleagues attended and were fascinated by Ray Kurzweil’s vision of the future. Mary Catherine Bateson spoke about our extended life expectancy and the role libraries can play in providing resources to our aging population.

One of the people who attended this event, Phil Bowermaster, is a futurist based in Denver, Colorado. The planning committee used questions that Phil developed to promote discussion at the “World Cafe.” One of the questions was “If you live to be 100, what will be the biggest difference between the world you were born into and the world you leave?” Phil fully participated in our conference and helped to facilitate discussion. The following is a video he developed.

Word spread fast and even after expanding the number of participants, we have reached our limit. Keep checking back here to get updated news about the conference.

Debating about attending the Futures Conference May 7-8? We’ve just secured 50 more rooms at the $139/night rate. The rate is usually $279. So, if you are thinking about attending, reserve now. And plan to stay for the closing speaker, Joan Frye Williams. She is practical, inspiring and on the money!