Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Doncaster and CILIP

In his comment on my last post, Mark Clowes makes a point about the involvement of CILIP at the Doncaster demonstration - but this does need to be considered in more depth. The idea that "CILIP" is a powerful but remote body which should have intervened directly in the Doncaster demonstration and sorted things out for local library staff and the public is misleading. CILIP is not "them" it is "us". Professional librarians in Doncaster should be drawing on the resources and support of their professional organisation in this campaign and not just complain that "they" have not done anything.
Some questions for professional librarians in Doncaster:
1. Have you informed CILIP HQ what is happening in Doncaster? At the very least someone should have contacted the Update editorial team with a news report. Then there are members of the CILIP staff dealing with policy and advocacy who can help.

2. Have you started a dialogue with CILIP Council members? They are the governing body of CILIP rather than roving trouble-shooters available to sort out our problems, but they do want to be involved. As Judy Broady-Preston, Leader of CILIP Council said "We are YOUR representatives and rely on YOUR feedback and YOUR views as to what you think are important issues to make sure that the new Council truly represents ALL of you".

3. Have you used the resources on the CILIP website to support the campaign? I admit that they are not very well signposted but by applying your information skills you can find the CLIP statement "Local people deserve a professional service"; "CILIP Policy Statement on Libraries & Learning" and "Intellectual freedom". The Conway report is very relevant and the associated CILIP press release is another useful resource. Finally on CILIP Communities there is a useful thread on "Saving Libraries" under Advocacy.

4. Are you working with the CILIP Branch? Again, this is not a case of "Why hasn't the CILIP branch sorted out all our problems?" The Branch is a community within which you can work and which may be able to offer support.

5. Have you asked yourself what it really is that you want CILIP to do? What is the role of CILIP as a professional body? Is waving a banner at a demonstration really the best thing for CILIP to do?

So to answer Mark's question "Where were CILIP?" They should have been there in the shape of individual CILIP members taking an active role. We are not victims!

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