We’ll do it anyway -CILIP 

So CILIP have just emailed members to try and find out why so many of them are opposed to obligatory revalidation.

At the last vote an extremely slender majority voted in favour of this which means that there is almost as many people who are against it as want it and no doubt the amount of voters was equal to only a small percentage of actual members further meaning that we really have no idea what people think.

My thoughts have also been dead set against the idea of obligatory revalidation. I cannot see the point in making members have to revalidate every year to prove that they are doing a good job. Many organisations themselves have their own schemes of appraisal and even in schools there are various different models of how this is achieved (especially with the ever increasing number of types of school that exist!). For instance in my job I have an appraisal that is linked to my actual job in school and not to some woolly one size fits all scheme that showcases librarianship as a very small set of skills and caters for the majority rather than for all.

So I do my appraisal in my school which takes time etc to do and then I have to undertake an arbritary scheme, that means absolutely nothing to me or my job and takes time away from actually sing my job.

Ok, so I understand in some professions this revalidation performs part of their appraisal process and this is brilliant but again this is CILIP not realising that their members are diverse and want they want from their membership is something that is a bit more specific to them. Revalidation means nothing to my employer so why should I do it and why should I pay the penalty for not doing it when I pay my fees every year and have done so for god knows how many years without actually getting anything from it??

I’ve had this argument before with people involved in CILIP. Their come back has been interesting to say the last. When I’ve argued that it is a waste of my time I’ve been told ‘but it only takes a few minutes to log your CPD online.’ Which then raises even more questions as to what is the actual point of it all if it’s so simple to do. Is there anyway of actually legitimising what people are putting on? Could you just make it up? If so then surely that defeats the whole purpose and gives me even more reason to not to do as it really doesn’t mean anything at all!

Then in answer to my questions surrounding being penalised for not doing it the most common answer I’ve received, apart from a shrug, is ‘well we can’t really penalise people forgot doing.’ What? Well what is the whole point of ding it then? 

To me this is just another example of CILIP being out of touch with not only its membership but also the real world! Why would you continue to spend time money and effort on sketching that ultimately deans actually mean anything. Something you can’t prove as being legitimate and something that you more you think about it the less quality it has.

And yet, with this recent email it tells me that it doesn’t matter what it’s members think. CILIP are going to continue doing what they want to do as they always have done and with that they move further and further away from roviding a service it’s paying members deserve and actually want.



  1. You have a choice, though. You don’t have to be a member of CILIP and many librarians are not. In some sectors it really isn’t seen as necessary to be Chartered. But in many cases where we are working with other professionals and are trying to get across the message that we are also professionals, in my view it helps if our governing body makes certain requirements of us. Otherwise the question could very well be asked: Why should MCLIP after your name carry any weight, if it refers to a portfolio you delivered 5, 10, 20 years ago? This is common in many other areas; compulsory CPD in a similar format (20 hours a year, annual return, all kinds of learning permitted) was introduced for solicitors when I was practising 20 or so years ago. This is about our professionalism as individuals, our wish to be the best librarians we can be, not about performance in our jobs. Appraisal/performance review is a very different thing, reflecting the needs and priorities of our employers and the role we have in responding to those requirements.
    I don’t think CILIP have it right yet, in this and other areas, but I do think that they are moving in the right direction overall, and making real efforts to give us a professional structure which demonstrates our worth.

    • You are right we all do have a choice and I know more librarians that are no longer members than I do those that are. However I feel, a romantic view maybe, that we could create a body that works with and for us and does is good but that can only happen if we actually put our faith into the system and buy into the membership. You are in indeed right that there are many sectors that ask CILIP to make requirements of them but does what they are proposing actually do that? Does it carry any weight to say that all you need to do is post 20 hours of CPD that could be reading a magazine? And does it really have the gravitas needed from such a member when it just says for quality assurance it will check x in x submissions but can’t really penalise anyone if they don’t do it or if they lie?
      Let’s also think about MCLIP itself. In other organisations professional bodies require its members to take exams to past tests of its competence and its post nominal letters represent meeting a higher bench mark and something akin to a qualification. MCLIP is none of these things and I would also bring into question how they go about awarding it with some very dubious decisions made on why some people don’t gain it due to something very spurious in their submission. Sometimes it feels more like a quota game rather than about integrity of submission.
      I honestly can’t say I have seen CILIP get anything right in all my membership years but I still be a member in the belief and hope that one day they will. Foolhardy maybe but at least for the right reasons!

  2. Afraid, I have not renewed my subscription this year. I am an active member of the SLA which supports my work in school much more than CILIP and I have never been asked for my professional body papers (which I have held since 1984) when accepting a job in schools.
    I too have a thorough appraisal every year with my SLT link (who is also Head of Geography & School Literacy coordinator) which reviews our achievements and prepares for the focus of our work in the coming year. Much more practical – and fits in with your previous articles about Librarian’s proving their worth within their own schools.

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