Oh dear, this IS turning into a speech isn't it, because I'd like to thank everyone in CILIP Governance for their work, and everyone at CILIP who was involved in any way at all. Thanks to everyone who cared enough about CILIP to vote for any of the candidates; CILIP needs as much active involvement as it can possibly get, and I'm delighted that so many more people voted this time than have done previously. We still need more voting next year though! Very obvious thanks to everyone who voted for me, and sent emails, DMs, tweets and congratulations - it's very much appreciated. Congratulations to all the candidates, particularly Katy, Gaz, John and Andy for getting elected.
I believe that this election shows that people within the organisation want change, and they want it quickly. We are in a parlous situation, both within the organisation and more generally, and there's lots of hard choices that need to be made. I don't know what they are yet, but I can take a good guess. All of us who work within the industry are under threat - from public library closures, to school libraries being disbanded to the 'why libraries when we have Google?' viewpoint and beyond. We ALL need to work together to support each other, and without wishing to be overly dramatic we need to stem the tide now. It's not a 'oh, we can think about it in a decade'. It's not 'we're ok for the next five years'. It's *now*. The membership of CILIP has to increase - now. If you're wondering 'what can CILIP do for me?' it's a perfectly acceptable question, but at this point in time I'd counter it by saying 'If you want CILIP to do anything for you, it has to be in a position where it actually can'. If you're not a member (and I'm holding up my hand here, because I wasn't), then please consider joining or rejoining. I'm very proud that I can call myself a librarian, and I'm betting that most of you are as well. However, if we don't have a strong professional body, which is able to define, set and maintain professional ethics and qualifications, and to promote the profession, we're not going to be able to say that for much longer. If you want CILIP to advocate, and to have a strong voice in the profession, it needs to be in a position to HAVE a voice - the louder the better. It will only have that if people join and keep their membership. If you have colleagues, friends, co-workers, ask if they are a member of their professional body. And if not, why not? The more that CILIP is diminished the more that the profession in diminished, the more that our jobs are diminished, and the worse we will all be for it.
I got asked a really good question during the hustings, which was along the lines of 'What is the meaning of life?' My answer was that I wanted to leave the world a slightly better place than that in which I found it. I want to leave the Presidential team in 3 years time by saying that I left CILIP in a better state than I found it in. I believe that if we all work hard, for ourselves, for each other, for our libraries, that is possible. No-one is going to do it for us. Libraries are about books. Libraries are about knowledge. Libraries are about access to the internet. Libraries are about supporting our communities. Libraries are about making everything just a little bit better. Libraries are about US. If you believe that, shout it out loudly. In the street. When talking to a taxi driver. In the queue at the post office. To the cashier in the supermarket. In the letters column of the local paper. On radio phone ins. CILIP can do it, and will do it, but it can only shout as loudly as the size of the membership let it.
"The librarian must be the librarian militant beore s/he can be the librarian triumphant" M. Dewey.
A simple New Year resolution. Get a colleague to join CILIP. Or rejoin yourself.
Oh dear. Sometimes I shouldn't be left in charge of a keyboard should I! Just think how terrifying it's going to be when I'm not speechless! :)