A short story first. When I was younger and went to weddings, I always assumed that when the bride and groom went into the side room to sign the register and have some sort of “procedure” that made them intrinsically less fun to be around. Certainly my cousins were a lot less kid friendly after that bit. Then I read the Tripods Trilogy by John Christopher, wherein all the humans who come of age are “capped” to ensure they treated their aliens overlords right, I began to suspect this is what happened to brides and grooms.
Possibly this is why when I got married I signed the register in the middle of the church in plain sight. No alien metal mesh welded to my skull to control my impulses no thank you.
Why do I bring this up? Because today I went off to CILIP Command in London for my Councillor induction afternoon with the charming & dynamic CEO Annie Mauger, and couple of the other newbies. I managed to get into work before 8am as well and get some hard graft in before squeezing into the pokey hole they call a door way on the East Midland’s Trains express to London.
As I’ve said at other times, I got into this who councillor malarkey in part through a desire to change CILIP for the better (or if you’ve read the financial details, to perhaps save it from going under). I’m also wanted to get into it to try and offer a greater transparency to the CILIP membership. Personally Council has always seemed a sort of grey panther led shadowy cabal that held the purse and power strings, and operated in a rarefied atmosphere unknown to us mere mortal librarians.
Well guess what folks, one of the Chosen 12 is now me; and I’m going to bore you all to tears with what I learn and observe through the next three years as a Trustee (used interchangeably with Councillor – which do you prefer llama-fans?). Thankfully Annie is very keen for this kinda of openness, even so far as to permit tweeting during meetings – wow, would that my workplace allowed that! Of course there will be some bits that, the reserved private business, that I won’t be able to share quite so openly for matters of personal confidentially. But that still leaves vast swathes of excitement that I can bring to you!
Today, other than finding out in a bit more detail about the situation CILIP’s in and the steps that are being planned, it was also a chance to put some faces to names and meet the rest of the team. As I was meeting people I kept thinking it was a bit like touring as an interview candidate and meeting the staff; except in this case I’ve already got the job. After a while I realised it was probably at least in part due to the influence council wields over these people’s jobs and working lives. Let alone all the work we’ve got to do to support our membership and their aspirations in these challenging times.
One thing I came away from that was quite powerful, was an idea of just how much a force for change Annie is. I’m genuinely really looking forward to working with her to bring the new, shiny CILIP 2.0 into existence. I’ll make no bones about it, it’s going to be a tough few years for the organisation and the sector; and not everyone’s going to like the path. Hell, I’m sure I won’t agree with everything; but I’ll be in there fighting the corner for friendly neighbour-hood librarians everywhere – especially those who voted for me.
Roll on Jan 12th/13th for the two day Councillor training and first meeting of 2011; when things will start to get even more interesting…