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.

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