I’ve written before about the Cilip Governance Review (Fit for the future? & Chairman of the Board), which will be debated and voted on at this year’s AGM in September. Cilip Council met recently (8th July) to discuss the proposals and comments from the membership. The minutes and comments can been seen here.

It seems a number of reservations have been expressed regarding several areas of the review but overall there doesn’t seem to be that much opposition to the proposals from the wider membership, certainly not in the way that the name change last year generated opposition. Whether this amounts to approval of the suggested changes or just simple indifference is difficult to tell. Maybe librarians are more concerned about pay and conditions than the esoteric maneuverings of their professional body. Certainly there are a lot less of us nowadays in public libraries to be worried about Cilip’s shenanigans.

That said, I still believe that this is an important issue that will see Cilip being less democratic in principle than before, particularly in relation to co-opted members being given voting rights to elect the president.

The issue took on a new twist with the resignation of Tom Roper from Cilip Council who has also expressed concerns about the review and in the way Council conducts itself. Tom is considered a leading light in the library sector and has challenged Cilip over issues previously, particularly the vote of no confidence in Ed Vaizey, but whether Tom’s exit will rock the boat enough to knock the review off course remains to be seen.

There are some very sensible suggestions in the review and in the main I support more of the proposals than I don’t. However, the recommendations form a single package so it seems a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater to vote against them. And perhaps that is what Cilip Council is hoping for to get the plan through without too much resistance. Then again, perhaps some members will feel strongly enough about the issue to submit amendments to the proposals.

What would be interesting to know is what other professional bodies Cilip looked at and considered to reflect good practice. If they could highlight how the model has been successfully achieved elsewhere without undermining the fundamental link between the membership and leadership it might go a long way to allaying mine, and I suspect other members, fears. Comments from Cilip Councillors welcome.

One way or another the issue will either fizzle out due to members having more pressing concerns, such as trying to hang onto their jobs, or it could be an interesting few months of infighting similar to what we saw last year.

Given the potential for conflict and the fact that the keynote speaker is William Sieghart who’s recent comments about the future of libraries didn’t exactly garnish overwhelming approval it could be an interesting AGM once again this year.

I very much look forward to it!

3 thoughts on “Elected!”

  1. Just a couple of thoughts.

    I just don’t think anyone cares; people are almost immune to cases of corruption given that **** is oozing out of every corner of the establishment right now. A simple case of undemocratic behaviour in an outdated irrelevant professional body is pretty small fry. So in that case, I wonder if people will care enough to renew membership, especially if it’s coming out of their own pocket. The way the numbers are falling, it seems many aren’t bothering.

    As I’ve always said, we need to each join a group of people, which relates to our area of interest/work, whether it’s IT, KM, Law, information science, universities, public, archives etc etc. Because this loose collection of people, headed by those who claim to speak for ‘the profession’ doesn’t speak for many because CILIP is too broad based. Specialisation is the norm now and I am happy to be just a member of BIALL and CLIG,

    Frankly I’m sick of spending my company’s money on their nonsense. They haven’t learned from any previous mistakes, so the prognosis isn’t looking good. See you at the AGM.


    1. Hi Clare, you might be right that such a broad base approach is disadvantageous although others might view it as a strength. You might be interested in one of my previous posts: Heads in the Cloud, regarding the future of Cilip


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