Archive for May, 2013

There has been a lot of healthy and not so healthy debate about the latest attempt by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals’ to engage with its membership. This time it was about a rebranding exercise the Institute is undertaking. It wasn’t to ask if there should be such an exercise at all, it was to answer a survey on the vision, values and name. The rather unfortunate options for a name have dominated the debate, but I think it is about so much more than the name.
We join organisations for various reasons, because we support its aims and objectives, because we want to help but feel unable to do so as an individual, and sometimes because we have to in order to get the job we want.

I joined the old Library Association because I had to in order to get my qualification and a job in the sector in which I wished to work. I remained a member of the LA and latterly CILIP because I believed in its professed aims, felt I couldn’t make a difference as an individual and needed to be a member in order to get the jobs I wanted. I am no longer a member but I was still asked to complete the survey about the rebranding exercise.

The trouble is I got the feeling it wasn’t so much a survey that wanted an honest response, it felt more like a survey trying to push me to respond in a certain way. The names are the least of it. (Actually I think the alternatives were so bad in order to make us realise that the name Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals is pretty accurate, although the acronym is unfortunate). These are the questions that really worried me.

“*4. Please rate the following statement on how well it captures what CILIP does:
Very well Well OK Not well Not at all
Inspiring, developing and promoting the information professions
Tell us the reasons for your rating

*5. Please tell us how highly you rate the following statement as an expression of our ambition:
Very highly Highly OK Not highly Not at all
For everyone to have access to the essential power of information to help change lives and create a fairer and more prosperous society
Tell us the reasons for your rating

*6. The following statement expresses how CILIP would like to be seen. Please rate how well it captures our status.
Very well Well OK Not well Not at all
The leading voice for the UK’s information community

*7. How well does the following statement capture the principles or beliefs that should drive our actions?
Very well Well OK Not well Not at all
We believe in enabling personal progress and driving professional excellence

*8. Please rate how strongly you feel this statement sums up the lasting impression we should leave with anyone who comes into contact with us?
Very strongly Strongly OK Weakly Very Weakly
Bringing the information world together”

How could anybody disagree with those? Yet is that what CILIP does? My concern is that whilst these statements are what we would all aspire for our professional organisation to be, we are not being given the opportunity to say whether we believe this to be the case. Oh, we can comment away in the appropriate boxes, but when it comes down to it most respondents will have stated that they believe these statements reflect what CILIP should be etc. and those are the responses that will be counted.

I am probably not very clear about what I am trying to say, but I have a deep gut feeling that in getting bogged down over a name we are missing the elephant in the room ( thanks Johanna). CILIP the organisation is asking for endorsement of what it should be, not for opinions on what it is.


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