Tuesday, 22 February 2011

SINTO Library Campaigns event

The SINTO Executive Board is concerned that CILIP should have taken it upon itself to announce the decision to cancel the SINTO Briefing “Library Campaigns. Are we all inside the tent?" without consulting the SINTO staff or Board. We are particularly disturbed by the tone of the statement and by the decision by CILIP to distribute it in the form of a news release. We accept that the speakers, who had originally agreed to take part, were entitled to change their mind about participating but do not agree that this, as suggested by the CILIP statement, was caused by any aspect of SINTO’s organisation or promotion of the event.

SINTO arranged this briefing with the aim of increasing understanding and exploring areas of agreement between the various groups involved and continues to believe that it would have been a useful and worthwhile occasion. It was concerned with an issue with which the library profession and library campaigners needed to engage and aimed at professional librarians and library campaigners with an interest in working together. Tim Coates, Annie Mauger and Lauren Smith, with Alan Gibbons as Chair, were invited to make separate presentations on library campaigning. There was no intention of staging a debate or confrontation between the speakers. The audience would then have been invited to contribute to the discussion. All participants in the event were asked to abide by the CILIP Code of Professional Practice section 3C:

"Refer to colleagues in a professional manner and not discredit or criticise their work unreasonably or inappropriately."

The three speakers agreed to participate on this basis. At no time were any concerns raised by them or the chair with the SINTO Director, regarding the way in which the event was being organised and promoted, until on Wednesday 16th February Annie Mauger contacted Carl Clayton to announce that the speakers had decided to withdraw. The CILIP news release was issued the following day.

Carl Clayton, Director, SINTO
Professor Bob Usherwood, Chair, SINTO Executive Board.

Please note that I do not intend to publish any comments received regarding this posting. Enquiries can be emailed to Carl Clayton.

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