In 2010 when I arrived at CILIP, the results of a major consultation with members, potential members and stakeholders had just been published.
The work was to find out what the professional body should be like in the future. It told us that advocacy should be at the heart of everything we do, that we should be about skills and professional development and that our profession wants recognition for those skills.
It also told us that the profession is changing. Technology and the impacts of public sector reforms and reductions have had a huge impact. But more fundamentally, information, our core product, is so freely available that we are reinventing ourselves. We’re now far more than gatekeepers of information—we’re facilitators, connecting people with the right information and building learning communities in all settings.
CILIP’s membership is very diverse, with less than a quarter of our members working in public libraries, more in academic and many in commercial, schools, health and government sectors. The information and knowledge world is huge and diverse, and the profession unites under its values and core skills.
The professions in general have taken a bit of a rap over the recent years, but I really believe that there is a fundamental need for people to get peer recognition for the work they do and to collaborate to be a strong voice about the things that matter to them. That’s our business and that is why we’ve entered into a massive change programme over the past three years, to be relevant and to be sustainable.
Part of our change programme was to develop a new brand that reflects who we are now, not past perceptions and ‘baggage’ – a new brand that takes us into the future. We’ve been working on this with our Council, staff and member activists on the back of a new vision and mission, a new staff structure, a new skills offer, revised qualifications and a new website.
We began a project to rebrand CILIP in a broad sense, re-defining our ambitions, style, ethos and values – to more clearly define who we are, what we do and how we do it, reflecting the changes that had taken place and where we are headed.
After we’d worked on the brand positioning, we tested some ideas for names in focus groups and through a survey. There was a lot of debate about the name ideas and the rebranding. We took some important messages away—the name should include ‘library’, it should include ‘information’ and have gravitas.
It hasn’t been controversy free, because our members deeply care how they and the profession are represented. A two-thirds majority now need to vote at our AGM in September to adopt the new name.
We’ve looked at the consultation outcomes, listened to the debate and taken a strategic view.
The new proposed name is:
Information & Library Professionals UK
And the strapline is:
The Chartered Institute for the knowledge professions
It puts information front and centre of our new identity and affirms our library heartland. It makes it clear that we build the skills and professionalism of our members. It’s a name we can be proud of and promotes our values as professionals.
It shows that as a profession we are focused on providing, supporting and developing knowledge that builds a strong, fair and prosperous society.
Annie Mauger is chief executive of CILIP (the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals)