Policies are codified overreactions to unlikely-to-happen-again situations. A collective punishment for the wrong-doings of a one-off.
The problem with policies are that they compound and eventually add up to the rigidity of bureaucracy that everyone says they despise. Policies are not free. They demean the intellect of the executer (â€œI know this is stupid, butâ€¦â€) and obsolve [sic] the ability to deal with a situation in context (â€œI sympathize, butâ€¦â€).
I’d like to slightly change the statement “Policies are codified overreactions to unlikely-to-happen-again situations” to also say “Policies are codified overreactions to unlikely-to-happen situations.” Don’t we plan for mythical contingencies? And really, what are the chances that someone is going to spill coffee while using a computer, and what’s the worst that could happen if they did? Replacing a keyboard for $10? Is that *possible* loss of $10 worth having to tell people they can’t have a drink at the computer? Having to disappoint them, and the chore of having to babysit doesn’t seem worth it to me. I know what you’re thinking: “What about the $1200 computer at risk?” I think the chances of something spilling into a fatal location are infinitesimal.
I’m glad there’s been an increase in talk about library policy lately because I’m afraid getting libraries to give up lame policy might be harder than getting some libraries to implement some neat technology.