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May 20, 2010


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Anne Robinson

Wow! If CILIP did only a fraction of this, then I would rejoin and lobby loads of other people, who have left for similar reasons, to rejoin too!

Diana Nutting

Phil I agree with virtually everything you say, especially the bit about being OK to try and fail.

I would add two further things that I would like CILIP to do.

One is to be more inclusive. Many people work in information who haven't been on a CILIP accredited course or gone the chartership route. I'm thinking about archivists, records managers, knowledge managers, market and competitor intelligence analysts. CILIP should be a natural home for all these people.

The second is to define what we are about. For example The only function of “old fashioned” cataloguing and classification was to make it easier to find material, although I do come across those who seem to think it is an end in itself. I stopped cataloguing and classifying when I moved from an academic library to a market intelligence function in the late 1970s. In the environment I was in it wasn’t the best way to get at the information we were using. So I think that our value added is to be facilitators of information finding, using whatever means and technology are appropriate.


Excellent stuff Phil. Lots to agree with.

I like the idea of Council being streamed. I visited the new Guardian HQ (as a guest of SLA despite not being a member - NB CILIP for spreading the network) and the daily meeting that sets the agenda for the paper is a) open to all and b) streamed live to all in the building who might want to keep an eye but not actually attend.

CILIP did have a fantastic drop in space for a time but the renting out of the top floor left a much more constrained Information Centre.




Yes yes yes! This is inspiring. When me and Woodsiegirl do our rescheduled presentation on escaping the echo-chamber, we're going to talk about the fact that CILIP is not in the news to defend libraries and librarians... So that Newsnight thing for example - I can't imagine the ALA not getting someone onto an equivalent piece in the US. I don't know how to change that status level, only that we need to. It's great that CILIP corrected them on their figures, but who outside the industry would ever find out those figures were wrong? CILIP needs to be the first thing any hack thinks of when they need a quote or a response to something library related, not 'an author who likes libraries' etc.

Incidentally, as an aside - you said: "I’d like to wake up in the morning, go to my machine or have my mobile device alert me to all of the interesting things that CILIP has found for me overnight, so that I can then sift through them as appropriate." That's kind of what your blog does for me now. Between you and Stephen Abram I feel like almost anything of potential significance or value to my profession will wend its way to my Google Reader eventually, which is great, so cheers for that...

Fiona Fogden

After seeing this Phil, my first thoughts were I hope that you, or someone like you, applies for the CILIP President job recently advertised - go for it!
When I was a law librarian I found BIALL far more relevant to my work and it is all run by volunteers! CILIP has such a diverse membership, it is so hard to please everyone.
I would like a CILIP library managers forums (divided across sectors such as public, academic, government, commercial) where key issues facing the profession are discussed frankly, and then summarised for the benefit of the members. Some examples of the sorts of topics might be content dis-agregation, outsourcing, flexible working etc. This would then mean valued content in Update rather than yet another story about a library shelving system and refurbishment.

Gary Green

Well put, Phil.

I like the idea of 'CILIP labs' and also being able to go to CILIP and try new things out such as ipads and new technology related to our profession. At #mashliv on Friday there was so much of this experimentation going on and I just wish events like this weren't limited to a couple of times a year and that it also brought together a larger audience in the library profession.

I also thought about the idea of (1) CILIP being an aggregator of data and (2) acting as an organisation that has the power to persuade corporate IT departments that they shouldn't be blocking websites - you managed to put it down much more clearly than me.

Matthew Mezey

Hi Phil,

Speaking about organisations in general, there are many things that they commonly fear: failure, not being in control, not knowing 'the answer' etc.

Somehow the answer to overcoming all these different blockages is one and the same.

I began to look into some of the organisational practices that might help in overcoming various fears, inertias, blockages and undiscussables in this recent - long!! – blog post on the Library & Information Update blog:


It even got an illuminating response from the Online Information 09 keynote speaker, Charlene Li - who is the author of a new book on 'Open Leadership'.

Which I've not read yet, but might well offer us many of the pieces of the puzzle that we need, I suspect...


Matthew Mezey
(News Editor, Library & Information Update magazine)

Megan Roberts

Hi Phil,

I think all your suggestions are great - as is Fiona's suggestion that you apply for CILIP President - you'd give them the shake up they need! I CILIP made inroads into a couple of your ideas, and showed that they are willing to try things, I have a feeling people would start to come back, because you have described, for me, exactly what I want CILIP to be as well.

Biddy Fisher

CILIP President post (that's the unpaid one) is filled for next two years! I think Fiona meant the Chief Executive Officer and the closing date is Thursday 26th May. http://www.cilip.org.uk/about-us/jobs/Pages/chief-executive.aspx
So there is time and all encouragement to Phil or someone who carries with them the wish to ensure that you all have said is done to apply, and if having Phil in that position is what it takes to get you all to be as enthusiastic about the organisation as this then yes, Phil apply - we are waiting!
Thanks to you all for these excellent,enthusiastic and energising comments - this is exactly what I have been waiting for and they will be read and reported on to Council following the analysis of all the discussions by the consultants 'Research by Design ' who, like me, are following these conversations.
(President of CILIP 2010)


An excellent and inspiring piece! I'll add my voice to the calls for Phil Bradley for CILIP CEO - or maybe we're better off with him as a maverick, always ready to puncture pomposity and cut through the bullsht...

If we're blue-skying like this, I'd love to see CILIP regional offices. Perhaps not staffed all the time - maybe roving regional officers with a desk in several cities? Give those members outside London somewhere to drop in, to meet face-to-face, to use all the wonderful resources that the CILIP of 2020 will have available. Even in the delightfully experimental, digital world of tomorrow, a physical presence is important.

Ed Chamberlain

Phil, this is awesome stuff. I've recently posted my contribution to the CILIP debate on their forum, it covers some of this:


The positive message here is much better phrased however.

Phil Bradley

Ed - what you wrote was tremendously powerful: I've read it three times so far and found it fascinating, and I was nodding so much I thought my head was going to fall off! Hopefully CILIP will, one way or another, get the message. I don't know if you already write a blog - if you don't, please start, if you do, let me know what it is!

Ed Chamberlain

I blog sporadically on the Arcadia project blog:


Interestingly enough, the Open University have an excellent digi-lab facility in their library that does a lot of what you've described.


Jenny Horler

Yes, and please, soon to all these new ideas. CILIP needs a shake up - this all shows how much we all care about our profession and want changes at the top to reflect what those at the 'coal face' are trying to do. We need to experiment and all these ideas are very inspirational. I for one am going to be more adventurous, if I fail, ok, I will learn from that and do better.
I also agree with Ed Chamberlain's comments, sorry to see him go but can understand why.
Jenny Horler

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