The information profession has radically changed in recent years and it is continuing to evolve, writes Nick Poole
The challenges and opportunities facing the profession take many forms, cut across sectors and impact on all information professionals. From fake news and information literacy to knowledge management and big data – information and knowledge professionals play an essential role supporting people, organisations and governments in a digital landscape.
CILIP’s role in supporting information professionals is also evolving, with the launch of a new membership model. It combines a more inclusive approach with simplicity and affordability. It makes CILIP membership accessible to everyone who works with information and libraries. We want to open up our community to all types of information professional, securing the future supply of skills and encouraging more people to embrace professional registration and Chartership both as a ‘quality mark’ of their skills and values for employers, and as an investment in their own career.
At CILIP, we care deeply about the future of our profession, which includes making sure that we can attract, develop and retain the best and most diverse talent from the UK workforce. The information professionals of the future will come from many different disciplines and educational backgrounds, so we need to ensure that our community is as open, welcoming and inclusive as possible.
Fellow professionals are a source of inspiration and support, and CILIP’s new membership model takes advantage of this. A re-designed website includes a new professional network Social Link, where ideas can be exchanged – helping individuals and the profession as a whole seek out, create and deliver best practice.
Social Link is about more than professional development, it is about building a strong community that can support and deliver a strong library and information sector. CILIP has always valued the contributions of members through its Member Networks and member-led board. Social Link will make it easier to be involved in the conversations that shape the profession. CILIP will continue to run regular events in the UK, including conferences, training and briefings. A new events calendar will make it easier to find events near you.
We have taken significant steps in our advocacy works over the last couple of years. From high-profile media campaigns and partnerships to direct lobbying of political leaders, the aim has been to put CILIP at the heart of discussions and decision-making.
Advocacy work is about raising the profile of CILIP, making sure the organisation is heard and making sure that libraries, librarians, and the contributions of all information workers are recognised and valued.
For too long there has been a notion that the services offered by the information profession are ‘nice to have’ rather than crucial. CILIP is changing that view, pushing the idea that access to accurate, trusted information has positive impacts on everyone’s lives – it touches on health and wellbeing, drives innovation, boosts the economy, supports education and training, and helps develop lifelong skills. By growing our community we will increase our voice and speak with authority on behalf of all information professionals.
Members will be supported by CILIP throughout their career – with a variety of resources that can be used and accessed in different ways. The aim is to give members choice in how they approach their continuing professional development. From online learning in the Virtual Learning Environment to regular newsletters, professional journals and the newly launched Information Professional magazine which, will be available to members in print, through a redesigned app and on CILIP’s website.
CILIP’s skills map – the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base – helps identify strengths and areas for improvement. For those wanting to formalise their CPD, CILIP continues to assist members through professional registration. There is a clear pathway from certification to chartership to fellowship, all backed by CILIP’s growing network of mentors.
A key focus for us is to develop leadership skills across the whole information sector, with a particular emphasis on helping women to build successful careers as leaders. This is why our new membership model includes an exciting Leaders Network option – offering access to specialist guidance, advice, support and networking to develop the leaders of the future. It gives exclusive access to networking events, a dedicated newsletter, resources to develop leadership skills and free affiliate membership to the Chartered Management Institute.
Nick Poole is chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals