After the Storm: Thoughts on CILIP

The cause of the storm

There was a bit of turmoil in library land this week after CILIP posted a blog post (Libraries, equality and the “turnaround decade”) which appeared to be supporting the Conservatives (at least that’s what it seemed like to me and many others).  This resulted in a bit of personal turmoil and uncertainty to how I should react.  Some people have cancelled their membership, should I?

After a twitterstorm, CILIP added a statement to the post to “provide clarification” which stated “the post and our tweets do not support or endorse Conservative policy”. I’m not going to explain why I had a problem with the post since Phil Bradley has already written a commentary which succinctly covers that – Oh dear, CILIP.

Alarm, confusion, disappointment

My first reaction to CILIP’s post was alarm.  I’m not the most involved member of CILIP, but this did not seem to fit with the CILIP I knew and it’s not what I want CILIP to be.  I don’t want to be part of an organisation which is seen to be supporting the conservatives (though I acknowledge that the additional statement clearly states CILIP does not).  My next reaction was confusion.  Are they trying to ingratiate CILIP with the government?  Have they been fooled by Cameron and his words?  Is this a new direction for CILIP?  What’s going on?  My third reaction was disappointment.  I felt let down by an organisation I thought was supposed to be representing me.  I started questioning whether I should remain a member of CILIP.

Rational thought

This got me thinking about what I get out of being a member of CILIP.

  1. Ejournals: The first thing that came to mind was access to ejournals.  I don’t work in an academic library, and therefore my only access to subscription librarianship journals is via CILIP.  I fairly frequently use the access to LISA and Sage journals that comes with my CILIP membership. Obviously there are various open access journals (thank you CIG!) I could read, but sometimes I come across an article I want that isn’t open access.
  2. Chartership: I’ve recently started the chartership process and it is really helping me focus, record and reflect on my CPD.  Yes, I could do this without actually chartering, but on a selfish note I’d quite like the recognition for doing it.  Then there’s the question of “what if a job came up requiring/desiring chartership and I hadn’t done it?”.  I hope my current fixed term position will become permanent, but if not I’ll be job hunting in a year’s time.
  3. The VLE: The VLE has been an exciting development and I’m actually finding it useful.  Yes, it has been a bit slow to get off the ground, but it now seems to be going in the right direction and I don’t want to miss out.
  4. My special interest groups (SIGs) and regional member network:   I’ve always been more connected with my SIGs and regional network and I’ve been to far more SIG and regional events that national CILIP ones.  I think it’s a combination of these events being either easier to get to (regional network) or entirely focused on something relevant to me (SIGs) and generally smaller, so less intimidating. I also enjoy the publications, the networking and being able to get involved.
  5. A sense of community: Finally, I get a real sense of community out of being a member of CILIP. Yes, I would still feel part of the profession if I left CILIP, but I think I would feel kind of left out.  Maybe this is just my insecurities, but for me it’s a benefit of my membership.

This list made me realise how much I am actually getting out of CILIP. It seem’s unfair to leave CILIP and all that it is offering for one mistake (I’m hoping this is what it was).  Phil Gorman tweeted from the CILIP New Professional’s Day.


Hopefully, we’ll all get to see something of Nick Poole’s talk soon.

Then there’s the case that you can’t change it if you’re not part of it.  If the membership disagree with what CILIP is saying, we need to tell them.  We’ve started that on Twitter this week, and there’s the well timed survey on CILIP’s Strategic Plan for 2016-2020 we can use too.  I’ve already completed the survey, but will be sending an email outlining my concerns.


Blog resurrection and Twitterfall

Hello! After nearly 3 years, I’ve decided to resurrect this blog.  There are various reasons for choosing to do this now.  I’m overseeing the setting up of a new library and information service, and am therefore thinking about lots of new things.  I’ve just properly started on CILIP chartership – I registered in February, but haven’t really got very far up until the past week or so.  Finally, in the past few weeks I’ve registered for 2 conferences, having not attended one for a couple of years, and am feeling a renewed enthusiasm for my CPD.

This evening I attended my first #chartership twitter chat.  I’ve previously used Hootesuite for twitter chats, but decided to try out another tool I’d heard of for this evening – Twitterfall.  Tweets fall into the Twitterfall screen a bit like a slow waterfall.


Photo by Tom Hall via Flickr

You can choose which tweets you see with a list, search or location and you can exclude searches too.  There’s also tick boxes to add tweets from your timeline, that you’re mentioned in or your direct messages.  I just used a search for #chartership and missed some replies to my tweets that were missing the hashtag.  Now I’ve found the mentions tickbox I’ll use that as well for chats so I don’t miss helpful replies!

I like how tweets fall slowly onto the page slowly.  If lots of people are tweeting at once you don’t get overwhelmed.  I’m quite a slow reader and the default speed worked for me, but you can speed it up if you want. Once I’d worked out symbol that looks a bit like a refresh button was a ‘View conversation’ button, that was useful too.


I also realised partway through the chat that if you’re hovering over one of the tweets in the fall, the fall is paused so you don’t get any new messages.  This is a really useful feature if you’re taking a bit longer to read a tweet, trying to catch up with them or contemplating a response.  However, if you find yourself wondering why no one is tweeting, check you haven’t left your cursor hovering over the fall.

When you hover over a tweet an arrow appears at the right hand side giving you various options – DM, Follow, Favourite, Reply, Retweet, Report and View.  You can follow, favourite, reply and retweet satisfactorily from within Twitterfall, but when I tried View it took me to Twitter and when I returned to Twitterfall it started the fall all over again.  So, if you want to view someone’s Twitter page, I’d open the View link in a new tab/window.  One thing I found quite frustrating was that you don’t get a normal mini profile when you hover over someone like you do in Twitter – the pop up you get is missing their picture and blurb.


Overall, Twitterfall worked really rather well for following a twitter chat and I’ll be using it again.