I understand that CILIP was actually offered a chance to talk on Newsnight the other day. I’ve always been of the opinion that CILIP should make more effort to push itself into the media, to publicise and stand-up for the profession. The other day the BBC actually asked CILIP onto a programme, and a significant and highly influential one at that, and they didn’t have anyone available. I expect there are real and genuine reasons why there wasn’t anyone- apparently there were people willing to speak by phone or video link- but I think the fact that CILIP was not prepared for such an occasion, even when libraries were unusually in the news that day, is very symbolic of CILIP’s attitude and institutional inability to promote the profession and to deal with modern media. This is especially surprising given all the recent soul-searching within CILIP and the recognised urgent need for the library profession to defend itself as it’s a soft target in any upcoming cuts. Any robust response to the now infamous KPMG report (see p. 19) seems to have consisted of unofficial bloggers (e.g.) and bloggers from CILIP Update (e.g.), all largely preaching to the choir. I hope they were also pushing a press release down the BBC’s throat, although I haven’t heard of one.
Update: I should point out that, according to the thewikiman, CILIP apparently asked to be on Newsnight in the first place:
I now understand that in fact CILIP contacted Newsnight in the first place – although they ultimately couldn’t make it happen. For me, even though the end result is the same, there’s a huge difference between those two scenarios – in one, CILIP is shirking a fabulous opportunity, but in the other (in actuality) they were tryng to MAKE an opportunity offf their own proactiveness… Which is great. Shame, obviously, that it didn’t work out, and I stand by the idea that hevean and earth should be moved in such a scenario, but the most important thing to take from this new understanding of the events is that it shows CILIP is already moving in the right direction.
I have to agree with that.