Following on from representing my answers to the questions on the hustings, I thought I’d also reproduce both my CILIP 2011 Manifesto and replies to the questions that have appeared in digital Update this month. Since the latter is an online only, membership restricted publication I thought it was worth sharing them with the broader library community.
This is a time of change for us all. The importance of libraries across the knowledge economy has never been more important and yet with budgets being squeezed they have perhaps never been so much at risk. This is not the time for timidity. It is time to unlearn old beliefs and embrace new paradigms. It is time for strong, firm and vocal action. It is time to embrace change.
Now the professional organisation more than ever needs to stand proud, as visible in the corridors of power as within individual organisations. In 2010 the Library futures engagement brought home to many members that CILIP is only as strong as its foundations, and its foundations are the many diverse and incredible members. It needs to engage with and make a greater use of them if it is to survive and thrive.
If elected I would push for this focus to continue, engaging with members old and new and helping to shape an organisation truly reflective and effective of its members’ wishes.
If elected my priorities would include:
-building on the outcomes from the Library Futures
-developing the CILIP-member communication agenda
-actively engaging with the membership on every level and sector
-working for an affordable, effective, vibrant and dynamic professional body
-work to retain old members as much as recruit new
-positioning CILIP for long term survival
With the challenges faced across the sectors I believe it is no longer time for silence in the libraries, but for us to shout from the roof top. No voice should be louder and more regarded than our professional body. That is the CILIP I want to help build. That is the CILIP that will remain relevant. That is the CILIP of which I want to be a member.
Let me make it happen.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing CILIP and the LIS community in the next 18 months? And what would be your strategy in the light of them? (eg recession, public sector service cuts, restructuring of LIS services, maintaining CILIP’s financial stability in a challenging trading environment etc)
For CILIP the challenges are as much about relevance and visibility as they are about long term financial security and survival. While the latter can’t be solved overnight, we can do something about the others. I’m concerned that many professionals seem to see CILIP as irrelevant to their career, but I can understand their point when you look at the networks that social media routes offer. CILIP needs to look closer at the return on membership investment and the true value of what it offers. Networking and community are a real CILIP strength, especially SIG events and conferences, and we all need to sing out about these.
We need to celebrate the successes and endeavours of the engaged membership more; demonstrating the rich and diverse value to be had from activism. We need ambassadors to reach out to heads of service and opinion shapers too, reminding them of what CILIP does for them, their staff and their industry. Only through proactive marketing can we hope to change preconceptions. But a long and difficult road lies ahead.
Within the community it feels like we’re staring down a long, dark gun barrel marked “cuts”, casting a palpable malaise across the entire sector. We’re good at telling other librarians what we do, but it’s the rest of the population we need to speak to! Look at the recent BBC Have Your Say article on libraries which demonstrates how many people remain stuck in their stereotypical industry view. CILIP needs to keep getting stuck in whenever and wherever miscomprehensions abound. Through active and visible campaigning, CILIP can play a key role; but only though championing the achievements of libraries and librarians in the popular and social medias (like Voices for Libraries) can we capture the public’s attention and support.
2) What do you think should be the CILIP’s priorities given the unprecedented economic situation and the challenges it presents?
We need to continue focusing on revenue generation from sources other than simply raising subscriptions, which are a divisive and member losing option. We need to campaign and demonstrate the relevance to all librarians, not just the 10% of activist members.
There is as pressing a need to retain current members as there is a challenge of recruiting more senior librarians. There is need to ensure that no one library sector dominates the institute’s thinking and strategies, all have their needs which must be addressed equally. And there is a need to continue to look at CILIP’s outgoings; there must be no sacred cows but any scalpel must be wielded with a surgeon’s grace.
3) What attributes do you think members should expect in a Trustee?
Without a doubt they need to be communicative, focussed, personable, evangelistic and open to change. I’d expect them to be willing to stick their necks out and state actual personal opinions as well, even if these aren’t going to be in step with everyone else. I’d also expect a trustee to be as much a cheerleader for the profession at large as they are for CILIP itself and be able to articulate or fight for us at any given moment!