Monday 15 July 2013

Its a bit late, but my thoughts on CILIP re-brand

I didn't realise just how long it had been since I had last posted on here, but looking back since I finished CPD23, I have mainly been preoccupied with writing up my evidence for my chartership portfolio which (fingers crossed) is nearing completion.  I am also really behind the times with a blog post on the CILIP re-brand, but as a CILIP member who hoperfully will be Chartered soon, I thought it appropriate to comment on an initiative which seems to have provoked some very intense opinions on Twitter and in the Blogsphere; I have read many opinions, but especial highlights are Ned Potter's at; Caroline Fielding at (a fellow school librarian)  and the Secret Librarian at  Before the CILIP General Meeting on the 8th July, I also read Tom Roper's reasons for the motion proposing to halt the rebrand exercise and John Dolan (CILIP Councillor), opposing, in the July issue of Update. 

I first heard about the CILIP re-brand via Twitter when I received a tweet from CILIP asking me to participate in a survey.  When I first started the survey, I was initally quite positive, (after all I was originally a member of the Library Association which became CILIP in  2002 when it merged with the Institute of Information Scientists) but this was negated when I read that we weren't being asked about which name we should have, but given a list of pre-decided names to choose our favourite.  This made all the other questions on what we would want from an institution name etc fairly meaningless in my opinion as CILIP seemed to have already decided for us.  What made it even worse was the quality of the names ranging from the fairly reasonable, Information Professionals UK, to the bizarre and quite frankly insulting, The Knowledge People.  (I admit that I sent a tweet about wanting to break into the YMCA at this point).  I then followed the debate, submitted my own ideas about the name in the very hasty follow up survey, followed the motion by Tom Roper to halt the rebrand, submitted my proxy vote online and then monitored #ciliprebrand on the 8th July when the motion was defeated with the rebrand going ahead.
I think my antipathy towards the whole rebrand concept stems from the survey, where it suggests (to me) that CILIP weren't really interested in my opinion as to what MY professional organisation should be named and how it best represents me.  As far as rebrands go, I think I align myself more akin to the opinion expressed by Cazapr1 when she says that a rebrand of CILIP is necessary, but should it involve changing the name?  I have long had the opinion that there are some aspects of CILIP which are hopelessly out of date and the idea that I would turn to CILIP for advocacy should I ever face difficulties in my role is laughable; teaching union yes, CILIP, no.  But, I have persevered with my annual subscription because a) I like the idea of belonging to a professional body b) I want to charter and c) I like Update and other information disemmination sources such as the weekly email (although this information is only what I have often already read about via my PLN on Twitter).  So my argument is, yes, lets rebrand and CILIP definitely needs to, but in its actual services to its members, not necessarily its name.  As for the cost, yes £35,000 is a lot of money, but it is only what my school spent on giving all students a free uniform after the school was rebranded following its new Academy status. 
I also agree with both Cazapr1 and the Secret Librarian who suggest, in different ways, that although CILIP is 'clunky', it does sum up what the body is about.  Cazapr1 cites the IEEE as example (did you know it stands for the 'The Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers' ?)  No, neither did I, but I don't think that this in anyway demeans the institution just because it doesn't roll easily off the tongue for the layman.  The Secret Librarian's biggest complaint is the fact that none of the suggestions for CILIP's new name has the word 'Chartered' in it and for someone who has sweated over her MCLIP for far too long, I want to be part of a Chartered institute.  I think that the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals is a fair representation of what we are; the rebrand has to be about its services to its members, its advocacy to the outside world and how it can best support us in what are, frankly, very disturbing times for the profession. 
Finally I found a lot of common ground with Ned Potter's post 'The only way we will definitely be screwed is if we screw CILIP'.  CILIP can only survive if it retains its levels of membership and if we, librarians and information professionals, don't have CILIP, then what do we have?  It must be a nightmare running CILIP and I have the utmost respect for people like Barbara Band who is CILIP Vice President and has a full time job as a school librarian (I only referred to Barbara because of my being a school librarian too and not because I think she is the only person doing any good)  This is why I gave the President my proxy vote to use as he saw fit as I genuinely believe they have my best interests at heart and they are working hard to try and see them manifested even though I might not agree with how they are doing it.  So, in conclusion, yes; I was a bit peeved at the rebrand survey and I really do hope that whatever we get to vote on at the AGM has the words chartered and library in it.  Will I be renewing my membership in January?  Yes of course because in the words of  Disney (HIgh School Musical) 'we are all in this together'.