I’m not easily angered, but was infuriated by a recent blog post from CILIP’s Chief Executive, Bob McKee. The offending part of the post was a throwaway comment, towards the top, in which he referred to those voters who turned up and carried a proposal for an increase in membership fees through as ‘wonderful’. It doesn’t seem outrageous to read into this that those members of CILIP who voted against the proposal, and who were, for a range of reasons, unable to attend the meeting in person, were less than wonderful. I’ve reposted my comment on his blog below for your consideration.
When I saw the results of the proposal for an increase in CILIP fees had gone through I was surprised by its approval. However, as CILIP is run by the democratic method I accepted that the views of the voting members had been represented. To be honest, I would expect the Chief Executive of CILIP to attempt to disguise his or her own views on such a vote, and to focus on the importance of the vote representing the members. I therefore saw your comment above about the ‘not wonderful’ proxy voters as not only personally insulting, but rather inappropriate.
I submitted a proxy vote against the increase in fees, and encouraged my colleagues to do the same. I had a good reason for doing so. I have recently graduated from a librarianship course. A large number of students on this course saw CILIP as a looming overexpensive drain on their resources. I strongly believe that charging higher and higher prices to account for a failure to recruit these new professionals is just going to drive them further away. I believe that raising fees does more harm to the long-term earning potential (and relevance) of CILIP than good.
The information profession is not my first calling, and I came to it with a strong belief in the importance and power of professional bodies. Therefore I will not be leaving CILIP in protest. I think working from inside CILIP is a better way to change it than leaving. My believe in working within an organisation for change is why I voted by proxy, despite being unable to attend the meeting. However, I sympathise strongly with those who are leaving, and think your (doubtless intended to be) throwaway comment above is only going to further alienate the disenfranchised.
I hope you will forgive me for also posting this comment on my blog. I also have little time, and hope to get extra value out of this content by reusing it.
I’d be interested to hear any comments, especially from new professionals on the way they see CILIP and its value to their own careers. Who knows, Bob McKee may even be interested in your thoughts.