CILIP votes overwhelmingly against ‘amateurisation' of library service

CILIP votes overwhelmingly against ‘amateurisation' of library service

CILIP members have voted "overwhelmingly" in favour of actively opposing the ‘amateurisation’ of the public library service in England at an a.g.m in London yesterday (24th September).

CILIP member Andy Richardson had previously proposed a motion calling on CILIP to oppose the "amateurisation" of the public library service caused by the library buildings and contents being run by the local community with little or no funding for professional or paid library staff.

CILIP a.g.m resolutions are “advisory”, however, a majority vote in favour of a resolution means the board will "consider it carefully" and ensure that it is reflected in CILIP’s on-going advocacy and campaigning.

Mark Taylor, director of external relations for CILIP, told The Bookseller an "overwhelming majority of members" voted in favour of the motion, with 130 for, 0 against and 13 abstaining.

The body now intends to produce a white paper in the next six months analysing the rapidly changing public library environment , he said, and also seek to secure pro-bono legal advice on the 1964 Public Libraries & Museums Act to provide clearer definition on what a “comprehensive and efficient” service means for library services today in England and Wales.

Earlier this month, Martyn Wade, chair of the CILIP Board, outlined how the board would review CILIP’s position. He said: “CILIP’s existing policy on volunteers is already overdue for review. The board will begin this process based on evidence and research in what is a rapidly changing environment.

“We will work with the CILIP Policy Committee and ask for the views of members, CILIP’s Public and Mobile Libraries Group, CILIP regions and nations as well as key stakeholders such as government advisory bodies across the UK, the Society of Chief Librarians and members of the Leadership for Libraries Taskforce.

“We will present the outcome of this review as a position statement within six months, along with guidance on how it can best be used by members to support their own advocacy.”

Wade had encouraged members to vote in favour of the resolution, saying: “Volunteers should be an asset. We should recognise the valuable skills, knowledge, enthusiasm, experience and fresh perspectives that volunteers can provide. But we must act when the quality and long-term sustainability of library services is at risk.”

Members also voted in favour of proposed increases to subscription rates for 2016.  This will see an increase of between £1 and £5 a year for personal members, depending on salary – which is a 2% increase - and increases to the charges for organisational membership along with an improved package of benefits.

Wade said: “Between now and Christmas, CILIP is running ‘Shape the Future’, an open participatory consultation about our future priorities from 2016 to 2020. This includes a proposal for a specific programme in response to the a.g.m resolution, and we encourage all members to participate in this discussion, which can be accessed at cilip.org.uk/strategy2020.”