Biddy Fisher, Cilip President has sent out a reminder to do the DOPF (that is, defining our professional future(s)) survey before the end of 22nd June. I’ve been noncommittally mulling over what the knowledge and information profession will look like in 2020.
I read with interest what Alan Fricker wrote (on our blog) and what Phil Bradley wrote- I sort of agree with both of them. I read something unrelated on Peter Murray-Rust’s blog about digital rights management (DRM) and the British Library. He asked why librarians accept the overly-restrictive DRM from publishers. That post is entitled “Many libraries/ librarians are very, very risk averse.” This struck me as the crux of what I see as the problem with us. Perhaps it is a work-culture or a personality issue for many librarians- we don’t push back nearly enough. At best we tentatively question. We need to be enforcers.
In a similar vein, we don’t innovate. IT has gobbled up innovation and has its own professional organisations and conferences. Scientists and medics have their own dos as well. This compartmentalisation leads to another need- the need to bridge with other organisations. This need is not unique to Cilip at all. The unique problem for us, however, is that we are so guarded that any inclusion of another professional group into our activities (e.g. mentioning an ‘external’ event in our newsletter) is seen as so threatening that it is forbidden. If we continue to try to black out the windows in this way, people will vote with their feet and leave Cilip. The media librarians’ group is now defunct because of a falling membership (okay, media librarians are an endangered species as well). However, a patchwork quilt of over 260 professionals is joining LIKE down at the pub. What gives?
My suggestions for improving Cilip:
- The need for members to influence Cilip from the grassroots- from the bottom up rather than the top down. It seems to dictate too much. Listen to us and lead (agreed with Alan Fricker on Cilip being an enabler).
- Scrap the training in its current format. The price puts off all but the wealthiest/ most provided for employees.
- Revolutionise the way Cilip does conferences- have an unconference. Actually integrate mobile technology and web 3.0 – not just in a token way. Don’t be afraid to copy what a completely different group does, if it is successful.
- Free events… an email just came through from Ukeig about a free Mashed Library event. These are way too rare.
- Make Cilip membership a requirement to join special interest groups (SIGs). I’ve already banged on about this in Cilip Communities- there is NO REASON not to do this.
- Have a joint conference with a different group. Partnerships will enhance us and can be financially attractive (=shared costs. Brilliant).
- Why not have a Cilip app for mobiles? Podcasts I can download from iTunes? (A big YES to Phil Bradley’s desire for Cilip to experiment with technology).
- Surveys are not expensive. Let’s make friends with surveys and other evaluations to see that we are doing things right.
- Have a non-library stream. I work in information, not a library. I do not necessarily want to efface ‘library’ from Cilip, but I do want to feel I am catered for. How can we do this?
- Don’t be beige. Don’t be afraid of being controversial, Cilip.
I urge you to fill in the survey and make your voice heard (I am doing it now- jury’s still out on what it is asking me and why…). Please criticise/ applaud/ query my suggestions above. Have a look at the Conversation blog- it’s not beige at all- quite pink actually!