Show me the money!

Although somewhat a distraction from the more serious business of library closures and service reductions, librarians will debate the outcomes of the governance proposals at the Cilip AGM on Saturday (20th Sept 2014).

Rather than rehash the arguments from previous posts I refer to the wider debate at the following:

  • Public Library News: post from 2 past presidents express fear over Cilip leadership proposals and the response from Nick Poole, CILIP Councillor and member of the project board for the Governance Review
  • The various posts on Tom Roper’s blog including many comments from both sides of the argument
  • Barbara Band (president of Cilip). Barbra has also discussed the review in the bookseller but unfortunately the article is accessible to subscribers only.
  • And email lists and social media sites such as PUB-LIBS and LinkedIn

I’ve thought long and hard about the proposals and while the modernisation of the governance structure is to be welcomed the undermining of the fundamental democratic principles of a membership organisation is not. Therefore, it is with reluctance that I shall be voting against the changes.

Whether Council is in tune with the general feelings of the membership or we see yet another debacle similar to the defeated name change last year will only be decided by the vote.

On a related note, the recent announcement by Ian Anstice that he has left Cilip due to it being too expensive is disappointing but understandable news and a move I fully sympathise with. For many library staff who have suffered both pay freezes and derisory pay rises during the past few years the cost of membership is a major investment.

At last year’s AGM it was noted that the subscription model would be looked at to consider a more equitable sliding scale of payments. To my knowledge this has not happened and this year we will once again be asked to vote for a rise in membership fees. I suspect there will be many members who will be asking if the ROI of membership justifies the cost and might just decide, like Ian, that it does not. For an organisation that has already lost substantial numbers of members this would be a major blow.

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