Mark Taylor, of the CILIP external relations team, talked at the May meeting of CILIP in the Thames Valley about the initiative that saw everyone at the CILIP Ridgemount Street HQ work shadowing information professionals of all varieties, in an effort to reach out to members and potential members of our professional body. This push to gain insight into what members do on a day-to-day basis and how this may affect what they want from CILIP comes in an effort to better represent all CILIP members after a major re-structure at CILIP HQ with everyone’s role changed or re-evaluated in some way. As you may have noticed this was only a part of the wider effort, with other measures including a survey of members and non-members and CILIP staff getting attending many different events and using it to inform their work.
From the CILIP HQ side of thing the work shadowing programme was deemed a success in that (at the very least) valuable contacts were made within the industry on which they can draw in the future, and vice versa. One of the most important lessons Mark felt had been learnt was the failure thus far to reach out to those information professional that have no physical ‘library’ space and tend to be loan working – really those that no longer see themselves as ‘librarians’. This kind of exercise may be a good way to reach them. Going forward, all new staff will be encouraged to go on a work shadowing placement. As of yet there are no plans to repeat the exercise on a Ridgemount St wide basis, at least not annually.