Tag Archives: CILIP Chartership

Pros and Cons of sitting on Committees

As a tangent on a CILIP Chartership reflection I started writing this list. Did you know that CILIP has 1700 volunteers doing 55,000 hours of work a year? Here’s my reasons for and against why you should join them!


1) You get to meet a lot of people…

In my various roles I’ve attended small local events and big national ones and I’ve met loads of people and had lots of different conversations with them. I’m a people person, I love doing this! Usually the conversation is library/work related (especially for conferences and workshops etc) but sometimes it isn’t and I enjoy this networking opportunity. I don’t always feel like I make the most of them all the time but sometimes I do, like when I organised a look around the new library in Telford: I met the person I needed to arrange it with at the CILIP AGM a few months beforehand!

2) …from lots of different sectors of librarianship.

Naturally some events are going to attract a specific type of librarian (for example the Librarians as Teachers events I’ve organised mostly attract academic and FE/HE librarians) but some are open to everyone and with a bit confidence you can find out about their sector. Most of what I know about Law Librarians came from a conversation with one at a CILIP AGM.

3) Visit other libraries

Maybe you’re like me and you just like seeing what other libraries look like, and maybe you want new ideas for layouts/displays/seating arrangements, but because most of our events are hosted in other libraries you get a chance to explore a wide range of them when attending and hosting events. Some events are even put on with this express purpose (see 1 above!)

4) Learn a range of skills

Want experience handling money? Be a treasurer (or start small and run the account for an event!) Want experience with Social Media? With event organising? Chairing a meeting? Join a committee! You can start small, chair one meeting when the Committee Chair can’t make it. Organise a small one-off networking event. Run the Social Media account(s) for a day because you’re at the conference anyway. Committee work is a great way to pick up new skills, brush up rusty ones or just do something for the love of it!

5) Improve your juggling skills!

I learnt this one the hard way, but juggling non-work commitments on top of work ones takes a little getting used to! Thankfully most of the tasks on a committee are flexible, and don’t take up too much time in one go.


1) Attending meetings

I always feel like this is the biggest hurdle for some people joining committees, and as one of the biggest commitments to the committee I can see why. Some bosses are less flexible about their staff attending on ‘work’ time, combine this with travel or childcare issues and sometimes I wonder why we bother trying to have physical meetings at all! But modern technology makes it easier to be on the committee even when you can’t attend meetings in person. The West Midlands committee have enough Academic Librarians on it to have been able to set up a JiscMail mailing list just for committee members (other emailing systems are available!), and we have a lot of discussion on it some weeks! We’ve also experimented with Skype meetings. When we have physical meetings we alternate the time of our meetings between daytime and evening so that everyone can attend at least two out of four meetings a year, and our travel expenses are paid by the committee, so you don’t need to shell out for these either!

2) Not having enough time

Some people genuinely don’t have a lot of time spare, I understand that (and some weeks I am that!) but it doesn’t mean you can’t contribute! A lot of roles lend themselves to job sharing (the previous CSO in the West Midlands was job shared) or even be a committee member ‘without portfolio’: which is just the posh term for being a committee member without a designated job/officer role. It means you can pick up tasks and odd jobs when you can, and still have a say in what goes on with the committee regarding bigger issues and events.


TLDR: Join a CILIP committee! You’ll get more out of it than you expect!
I have genuinely loved working on CILIP Committees, yes it’s hard work, but in my experience all the most rewarding tasks are! They are also fun! I enjoy meeting people from all walks of life (and library sectors!) and while organising events can be hard work, it’s always great to see them go off as planned and to hear how much people appreciate it.


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Filed under Chartership, CILIP

Starting Chartership

A few weeks ago I finally made myself stop talking about it and registered for Chartership. Of course, what followed was a return to my previous non-activity as life and work distracted me with ‘more important’ things!

When I saw my Member Network colleagues had set a date for the Professional Registration event they were organising I was quick to sign up. I’d already unofficially agreed a Mentor (I have since finalised this on the VLE!) and I knew that going to the workshop was a great chance to make sure I had things straight in my head and to give me a kick up the behind about getting started!

Having been involved in the CILIP West Midlands Member Network (and one of it’s predecessors, the Career Development Group) during the consultations and launches of the changes a few years ago to Professional Registration I felt familiar enough with the theory. Even my previous experience with Certification, although no longer the same process, gave me enough prior knowledge to feel comfortable with what lies ahead. Certainly I feel more confident going into the whole process than a lot of other candidates say they feel about it!

I didn’t really expect to learn a lot of new things – but I did! While the ‘what’ and ‘why’ were already settled in my brain the ‘how’ was a bit of a blind spot – I’d never done more than give the VLE a cursory glance, but the VLE and Portfolio demonstrations were very helpful and while I still need to have a go and test them out a little bit I’m confident enough to do that now, where before I wouldn’t have known where to look for them!

We also had a very interesting talk from Pam Martindale about the portfolios from the assessors viewpoint. This was surprisingly helpful – while it included the usual advice about not including too much evidence and making sure you cover ‘the Criteria’ (you, your library service or organisation, and the wider Library community) she also included things like ‘Keep it Legal’: such as regarding copyright and plagiarism, as well as making sure you have permission to name people mentioned in your portfolio for example if you include emails or conversation notes as your evidence. Pam also made a point of noting that you need to make it easy on the assessors, not only how it is presented and laid out in the portfolio, but also to remember that the assessors are often working from home in their own time and may not have the fast broadband connection that you do! Make sure your files aren’t too big to download or too long/difficult to read.

Overall it was a very useful day, even to someone like me who thought they knew it all anyway!


PS I wrote this in June and didn’t get around to publishing the post, but I have since had a look at the VLE and found the videos on the site very helpful – I’ve even had a play and made up a test portfolio (called Test so I don’t confuse myself later on!) and am definitely feeling better about to to approach Chartership – I just need to make time to actually do it!

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Changes, lots of changes!

Somehow I doubt three months is the longest my blog has gone without a post, but so much has changed since my last one!

I’ve started a new job: I’m now officially a Librarian (where previously I was a Senior Library Assistant). This means I can no longer put off my CILIP Chartership, but of course I have lots of things to learn for my new role, which I can include in my portfolio, so it’s a bonus really!

I’ve been busy with the CILIP West Midlands Member Network, most recently in organising our Annual Member’s Day (and CILIP Debate) which is on Monday and is currently filling my head with silly questions and niggles, but it’ll all be fine on the day! We’re already in the midst of planning our next big (should that say bigger?) event in June when we’re planning to host a Librarians as Teacher’s Conference to up to 90 odd participants.

I’ve also logged into my blog after a break to find that the stats of people viewing the site has boomed! Previously if I didn’t post anything in a while the stats eventually dropped to zero views/visitors, but at present I seem to have had a steady stream of visits since September, apparently mostly to view the post I wrote about creating Google Maps, but a few people seem to linger while they’re here! Unfortunately they seem to be mostly arriving here via search engines and WordPress is unable to see what search terms have led them to this site. This is disappointing in two ways: first as a blogger I want to see what topics people are interested in so I can write on those topics, and second is simply as an information professional: what are they searching for, and more importantly, are they finding it?

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Filed under Misc