I’m a little late to the party, but there was some very welcome good news this week for supporters of public libraries. And also, I might add, if you have been keen to see CILIP become more vocal in advocating for public libraries. Yes, the WI voted at their recent AGM to throw their very considerable weight behind the campaign to save libraries. What a fantastic organisation to have on your side in a scrap. If anything should put the fear of whatever into Vaizey and co it should be the sight of the WI joining the fight against a policy of library closures that the DCMS is stealthily supporting (maybe not so stealthily). And as for the level of support from the WI, well:
That says it all really doesn’t it? Local campaigns across the country deserve a huge amount of credit for working with the WI and raising awareness of this issue. Without them, this resolution would never have passed.
As you can see above, I created a little Wordle using the text of Annie Mauger’s address in support of the resolution. My favourite thing about the Wordle? The fact that across the middle are the words ‘library’, ‘help’ and ‘people’. Sure, it’s not entirely grammatically correct, but it is a nice little reminder.
In terms of the role of CILIP, I am pleased that Annie presented the case at the AGM. One of the reasons I was reluctant to join the organisation was its lack of visibility and failure to really make themselves heard in the media. Whilst we are still some way off CILIP dominating the media coverage of libraries (a recent edition of Newsnight again looked outside the profession for a defence of libraries), there has been a noticeable increase in the amount of coverage CILIP has received. This has got to be a good thing.
So, having decided to give CILIP membership a trial run, what is my initial assessment on the direction in which it is heading? Well, I am very encouraged. Continue to engage at all times with the media and national organisations such as the WI, and I see no reason why I shouldn’t continue to pay my sub come next April. Although April is a long way off so let’s not jump to any conclusions just yet!