CILIP member Andy Richardson has called on the organisation to oppose the “amateurisation” of public library services.
Richardson said that allowing library services to be run by volunteers in the local community with little or no funding for professional or paid library staff, proposed by many local authorities throughout the country, including Southampton and Birmingham, would result in its 'amateurisation'.
Richardson calls on CILIP -The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals- members to publically support the opposition to such proposals arguing for the value of the skilled and expert staff who deliver “high quality library services”.
Martyn Wade, chair of the CILIP board, announced his support for the resolution in a blog post that encouraged members to vote. He said: “Quality library and information services play an incredibly important role in their communities. On behalf of the board I am calling on members to vote in favour of the resolution.”
A recent report conducted by the Scottish Library and Information Council found that while volunteers play a valuable role in extending and supplementing library services, volunteer-run libraries without paid professional staff and local authority support are not a preferred option for local communities.
CILIP's official policy on the use of volunteers recognises the value of volunteers working alongside staff but opposes the replacement of staff by volunteers to save money.
The resolution will be voted on at the CILIP a.g.m in London on 24th September. CILIP’s a.g.m resolutions are “advisory” but if a majority of members vote in favour, the board will "carefully consider" the resolution and ensure that it is reflected in CILIP’s ongoing advocacy and campaigning.