The future of libraries is good. In a recent interview I was asked to do a presentation on “is there a future for academic librarians” – the short answer is yes & I went on to explain some of the areas where I felt the Library had a role to play in the wider HE world. I was questioned after the presentation by a Faculty member who asked whether what I talked about had to be the role of the Library. I said it didn’t – if we don’t do it then someone else will. Libraries are well-placed & well-skilled to move into lots of these areas, but there needs to be the will and the desire to work with users, and the strategic support from the organisation, and wider, to claim these as legitimate roles for librarians.
As such I found Bob McGee’s post on the CILIP use of Twitter to be very backward looking & navel-gazing (see also Phil Bradley’s reply which seems to have prompted most of the comments on the original post). Now I don’t think that Twitter is the answer to everything (thiss post couldn’t use twitter as it’s far too long), but I think that Twitter does have a use and could be used by CILIP to engage members and non-members. CILIP Communities was set-up to allow CILIP members to engage with each other and share good practice etc, but it is quite clunky to use and many people have complained that it is difficult to get updates from it sent to yourself and to reply you then need to go into the site. Twitter, on the other hand, is much easier to use and there does seem to be a community of practice emerging in the library and information professional areas. So it could be argued that twitter is enabling the discussions that CILIP Communities was set up for (although there are still differences between the two).
Jenny Levine’s post on the use of twitter by ALA shows just what can be done if we as a profession are open to new things and willing to experiment.
Between the discussion on whether CILIP had a twitter account and Bob’s post about it the discussion had moved on to what was the point of CILIP. Not many positive reasons for continuing to be a CILIP member were said. I have been a member since I did my MSc and plan to continue to be a member during my professional life, but I found it hard to explain why (especially in 140 characters or less!). I suppose the main reason at the moment is to maintain my MCLIP status, as it was alot of effort to get, but CILIP membership is expensive just to have that on my business cards (which MPOW have not yet managed to print me in the almost four years I’ve worked here, maybe with my new job…).
Reading Bob’s post made me so angry I really want to do something to change this attitude, but how do I do that? What is the best way to engage with CILIP and work with them on this?