CILIP 'stealth' rebrand sparks complaints

CILIP 'stealth' rebrand sparks complaints

Libraries membership body CILIP has changed its logo and rebranded to 'CILIP, the library and information association', although members have criticised the lack of consultation over the decision.

The association will use the new brand name of 'CILIP, the library and information association' on promotional material, but its formal registered name will remain The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

The new logo and branding was rolled out across the association’s website and social media earlier this week. A spokesperson for CILIP told The Bookseller that the brand was launched to "support the creation of a stronger, more visible and influential organisation with a clear and independent voice to champion to interests of the information, knowledge management and library sector".

While many members have welcomed the new logo, some have criticised CILIP's decision to launch it without the consultation of its members.

Former CILIP president, Phil Bradley, wrote in a blog post: “It appears that the 'Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals' no longer exists. No discussion, no voting, no long, angry meetings, nothing. It's an impressively soft launch. And when I say 'soft launch' I mean 'let's not mention it to *anyone*' and see how long it takes them to notice. I am in quiet hysterics here, I really am.

“I'm happy with the changes; it certainly works for me. I'm slightly less happy with the fait accompli nature though. Seriously - not a single communication? Not even an update anywhere? Not a news item? Nothing?"

Some in the library and information community related the "stealth" rebrand to CILIP's controversial rebrand attempt in 2013 which would have reportedly cost £35,000, and was later abandoned. CILIP declined to reveal the cost of the current reband when asked by The Bookseller.

Bradley said that the rebrand amounts to a "complete disregard for the member vote we had on the name change a few years back".

"If I'd argued against it, and voted against it, I would be hopping mad right now, and I'm just wondering if CILIP Council is hoping that people are just too damn tired, scared, worried about other things and worn out to do anything - perhaps the most we'll see is a quiet little 'meh, whatevs' response”, he said.

Ian Anstice, editor of Public Libraries News, agreed: “The absolute secrecy in which this was done is doubtless because of the bitter feeling (and pig’s ear) caused by the attempt a few years ago to change its name to ILPUK. That abortive rebranding exercise [would have] cost £35,000 but we don’t know how much this new one has cost [I’ve been assured this cost a lot less than last time as this was done in-house – Ed]. The fact that CILIP have done it without any consultation, or publicity, at all is, well, a tad bit dictatorial in a democratic association and presents a worry mark for the future. [I understand the log was sent out to member networks for discussion but that, obviously, quite a few did not see it – or I’d have known about it beforehand]."

In a Twitter poll run by Anstice asking for thoughts about the changes to the logo and branding, of which there were 109 votes, 8% thought CILIP did the right thing, 38% CILIP should’ve consulted, and 54% simply didn’t care.

A spokesperson for CILIP told The Bookseller that the brand was launched to "support the creation of a stronger, more visible and influential organisation with a clear and independent voice to champion to interests of the information, knowledge management and library sector".

He continued: "The new brand is a part of a bigger programme to set a fresh direction for the organisation and improve the impact of our work. This programme includes gaining greater political influence, working with celebrities such as Stephen Fry, Mary Beard and Sam La Rose to champion libraries, running campaigns to make change happen, developing a more inclusive and open approach to being a member of CILIP and developing a skills strategy for the sector.

"The new brand is currently rolling out across all our work across the UK and our community of Member Networks. It is part of our work to engage with more partners, to influence more national and local politicians, and welcome everyone working in the information, knowledge management and library sector to be part of CILIP and our work.”