And they’re off!  Yes the nominees for the 2011 CILIP VP and Council elections are now up on the CILIP site.  Good luck to everyone, with perhaps more than usual good wishes to Phil Bradley and Katy Wrathall

Sadly not my offical election attireI said in the last post that I’d talk a bit more about why I’m standing.  The thing is, I was asked if I’d consider standing by Phil and one or two others.  I can’t say I hadn’t thought about standing for Council in previous years, the idea had wafted across my brain more than once but the time never felt right.  Not that I didn’t feel I was up to the job, far from it – I’ve spent a lot of the last 15 years sitting on this committee or that committee, sorting things out, which I hope marks me as an active professional. 

The question that held me back was “Do I have enough of a national profile to get elected?”.  I still don’t know the answer to this – and doubtless the next couple of months of voting (polls close 29th Nov) will probably answer that question for now. 

What I didn’t expect was that being asked resulted in a number of different emotional reactions – delight, anticipation, frustration, terror and finally acceptance.  Let me take you through my five stages so that you can perhaps understand why I’m standing for election.

Delight: I’ve known most of the people who encouraged me to stand for a while, although mostly at a distance.  That they thought I was a good choice to put my neck on the line for libraries – well, who wouldn’t be flattered.

Anticipation: Next came thoughts about what am I letting myself in for?  This isn’t a small committment, that’s for sure.  I might wonder what my profile was at the time, but if I was elected then it could only increase.  Am I ready to be held up as (quoting from CILIP’s blurb) “the zenith of CILIP activism”.  That’s enough to put a bit of a shake on anyone’s self-worth.

Terror?!Frustration:  For once, largely with myself for indecision.  I am, by nature, a fairly decisive person (although happy to be persuaded in logical argument!) – so to be caught on the horns of a dilemma isn’t a natural place for me.  Thankfully having got little cross with myself, I was able to push forward into…

Terror: My brain started offering worst case scenarios over standing.  My boss might hate the idea when I broached it with them!  I might get just 3 votes and be laughed off the public stage!  I might get elected and then not be up to the task!  I might not be able to understand some of the issues!  I might get just 2 votes etc.

Acceptance: I’d love to say that this was a purely logical progression though the stages to the point of which I came to realise that standing wasn’t just a good idea, it was the right idea.  Right here, and right now, to make a stand for what I believe in and to try help shape a real future for my professional body and the membership at large.  It wasn’t easy, it’s been something I’ve thought about a lot, talked about with a fair few people before coming to the clear decision that standing is the right idea.

Hope!  Well, Blue Lantern anyway...Throughout this whole rather introspective process I’ve kept coming back to my personal central truth about professional activism:  If not you, then who?  If not now, when?  And so, with my own demons silenced I could finally throw my hat into the ring, track down some good nominators and get thinking about just what I could do if elected.

You’ll see (some) more of my hopes/fears/desires for CILIP and the professional as whole when the candidate manifestos go live in a few days.  And back here later this week for some more insights into the election trail – though hopefully no pictures of me pointing at books with a concerned councillor face on…


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