Wednesday 16 May 2012

CILIP HQ go back to the floor

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.

Some debate ensued about what CILIP is doing to help libraries, and particularly school libraries, to demonstrate their worth.  Mark entered into this agreeing that it was difficult to prove this by comparing performance in the national landscape as there are no nationally agreed measures by which to do this. CILIP are trying to develop dialogues with the institutional decision makers, such as school headmasters to try to discover what they would count as evidence. Further along, we all decided mystery shopping was probably a bad technique in trying to establish the performance levels of a service(!)  And of course #UpdateNichols featured.  Otherwise there was some discussion about how CILIP HQ view us the members, some taking umbrage with the word ‘customer’, when the relationship is perhaps more reciprocal than a basic transaction. If anyone wants to comment further on that or any of the above then please do so below.

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