Cilip (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) have been asking for comments about how workers in the industry see the future of the information profession developing and what should Cilip’s role be in this environment? So, I thought I’d give my thoughts on it, for what they’re worth. I should say that I decided not to read any other blog posts about this before writing this- I wanted to put down an unswayed opinion. This post also looks at what I feel our role as individual librarians outside Cilip should be too.
Firstly I’ll admit that, even though I’m a librarian, I’m not a Cilip member and I never have been. I didn’t see what they could offer me for the amount of money personal membership costs. I’ve managed to get to a position I’m happy with without the need for chartership or their direct support. I do recognise that chartership is useful for some colleagues and that Cilip provides a channel/support network for information based work.Even though I have no direct contact with Cilip I do recognise that their support keeps the idea of libraries alive and maybe without that public libraries would be a thing of the past and I wouldn’t be working in a job I enjoy so much. Not being a member of Cilip makes me feel guilty about having the title ‘librarian’, especially as I am the only person in my library service to have that word in their job description… and I’m sure some of my my colleagues deserve to be called librarians more than myself.
With more information being fed to us electronically/digitally as time moves on I feel Cilip needs to emphasise the needs for digital channels to remain open. Often corporate IT blocks access to important information resources and Cilip should be championing this access in a more forceful manner via Government agencies.
Cilip should be seen as the first stop for anything that is information and library related by anyone ie librarians, other professions, Government, public. If in doubt about where to find a piece of information anyone should just be able to go to the Cilip website and be pointed in the right direction. This ‘right direction’ might be library, Government department, shop on the corner, Mr Smith 6 doors down!
Technology is developing in different directions, all of which are relevant to information provision. No matter whether it moves to the cloud, becomes an app or something else, we need to know what is going on and be able to cope with these technologies- showing no allegiance for a single platform.
As an industry we need greater collaboration in the work we are doing and we need cross sector working. I’ve attended a few events primarily for academic libraries, which left me thinking that it was just as relevant for public libraries to be involved in this area too, even though we weren’t. It would be great if Cilip could help promote/develop these relations. How about funding cross-sector partnerships? Even in public libraries there seems to be a lot of reinventing the wheel for projects and overcoming problems, rather than making use of work others have done before. eg 23 things
Cilip needs to recognise the full scope of the library and information world. Keeping up to date with what’s going on… follow the trends and not follow late. Cilip should be telling us what’s out there and encourage development into non-traditional areas. Tony Hirst recently talked about how librarians should be programmers too. I’m not sure all of us should be programmers (is it a specialism, like being a cataloguer or childrens librarian? I’m still not sure), but I can see the point he’s making. Programming tools can help bring together and represent information, which is what librarians do.
I don’t know why it happened, but now, more than ever, I’m proud to be called a librarian- maybe it’s because I’m in the sort of job I really want to do and I can see new and exciting possibilities out there. The title ‘librarian’ is important to the profession. We shouldn’t disguise librarians & libraries under new fancy names, such as information evangelist and idea-sheds. We should be honest about who we are and what we do, so people know that libraries and librarians are still relevant. Changing the name disguises this fact.
Got to go now… my train just pulled into Liverpool and I haven’t finished yet (to be continued)
P.S. Apologies for spelling errors- it’s difficult writing this on a mobile phone!
P.P.S. Just found this unpublished so am publishing now.