Move to halt CILIP rebrand defeated

Move to halt CILIP rebrand defeated

A move to put a stop to a controversial rebrand for the Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals (CILIP) has been defeated.

At a general meeting held earlier at CILIP's London offices today (8th July) to discuss the motion "This General Meeting believes the current rebranding exercise should be halted, believing it to be a distraction from the urgent tasks of advocacy for the profession, and a waste of scarce resources”, the motion was defeated by 804 votes to 752, with 16 abstentions.

The meeting was called after 100 CILIP members backed the calls for a debate, following controversy among members at CILIP's rebranding plans.

Proposing the motion, clinical librarian at Royal Sussex County Hospital Tom Roper said: "There are two concerns behind this. The first is the flawed nature of the project itself, especially the survey presented to members and the alternative names it suggested. The second aspect that comes in for criticism is that this is a diversion." Charles Oppenheimer, seconding the motion, said: "I am a former academic and I am quite used to creating surveys. The survey we saw would have failed on all counts. The questions were awful. The results were invalid."

However, chair of the CILIP council John Dolan, opposing the motion, said that the change was necessary. "Change is driving the world around us… CILIP has to grow. There are many practitioners out there who are not members and we have to attract them." Seconder Andy Dawson said: "We need to be advocates, we need to be the voice of the profession. We need to have a brand that represents that."

CILIP is spending £35,000 on its planned rebrand, working with brand agency Spencer du Bois to consider a new name that better represents the body. However the omission of the word "Library" and "Librarian" in the shortlist of names to be considered, and the inclusion of options such as "The Knowledge People", have caused controversy among members.

Many people spoke from the floor, with a majority questioning the rebrand and supporting the motion. However, once the votes had been counted, the motion was defeated.

Roper said: "What we've done is to take the discussion out of the back room and the message boards where people might mutter about things, and into the mainstream. I think that's a healthy thing to do. The feeling of the meeting was very much for the motion – I think we lost it on the proxy vote, who maybe voted without hearing the debate, which is disappointing."

Dolan said: "While I am delighted that the majority of members have agreed that the rebranding project continues, I acknowledge the concerns that members have raised. The profession is going through a time of huge change and so is CILIP.  We are reviewing everything we do to ensure that it has value for members and that in such a changing environment, we can support and equip our members and make a strong advocacy case for their contribution to society. The rebranding is a part of a bigger strategic programme to make sure we appeal to the breadth of the library, information and knowledge professions."

He said that "over the summer" the alternative brand to CILIP - including name, strapline and visuals - will be presented. "Individual members will be able to vote to keep CILIP or adopt the new brand at the AGM in Birmingham Central Library on Saturday 21st September. Members can vote at the meeting or if they can’t attend by proxy,” he said.