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CILIP pro-Conservative tweet raises members' hackles

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Something of a twitterstorm has erupted following a tweet from CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) that appears to show support for government policies on libraries.

A post on the organisation's blog, entitled Libraries, equality and the “turnaround decade”, reflects on the Prime Minister's speech to the Conservative Party Conference this week, discussing David Cameron's supposed ambitions for improving the nation's information literacy.

The blog, by CILIP CEO Nick Poole, states that the prime minister 'presented a more inclusive and liberal narrative than might have been expected from a Conservative government that came to power with a strong majority'.

Poole continued: 'David Cameron’s vision of a “Greater Britain” is synonymous with a very British knowledge economy. From banking to nursing, schools to prisons, it is our professional skills that will unlock the transformative potential of this economy.  CILIP’s professional members have the skills, ideas and local connections that make a real difference every day – to communities, to local businesses and to people’s lives.'

While the blog stops short of overtly backing the Prime Minister's views, a tweet on the @CILIPinfo twitter account states: 'Every day public libraries support @Conservatives vision of a “greater Britain made of greater expectations”'.

Given that funding reductions to local government has seen increased pressures on public libraries, with more than 300 closing in the UK over the last five years, it is unsurprising that the CILIP tweet has jarred somewhat with many of the organisation's members.

Twitter user ‏@martin_eve tweeted: 'Clear CILIP statement is a strategic move to ingratiate etc. but need to highlight damage done to our public infrastructure by this gov', while @LibGoddess wrote: 'This is not what I teach. This is not what I espouse. This is not what I want for my students.'

More criticism came from @funktious, who tweeted: 'I'd almost feel sorry for CILIP, but really, how badly can you misjudge the mood of the profession?', and @SimonXIX wrote: I've never been more glad to have cancelled my Cilip membership.'