Roper resigns from CILIP Council following row

Roper resigns from CILIP Council following row

Tom Roper has resigned from the CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) Council after six months, in protest at planned changes to the body's governance.

Roper, a clinical librarian at Royal Sussex County Hospital, appeared on The Bookseller's list of Rising Stars earlier this year, and has previously campaigned successfully against CILIP's planned rebranding and name-change, and helped push the organisation to cast a vote of no confidence in library minister Ed Vaizey.

However, he is now stepping down from his role on the council, after being the only council member to disagree with proposed changes to CILIP's governance. The changes, which will be voted on the groups's AGM on 20th September, would see a third of council seats appointed, rather than elected by the membership, and see the president elected by the council rather than by all members, as it is currently done.

Writing on his blog, Roper called the proposals "profoundly undemocratic", and said he found himself "in a minority of one" when it came to opposing them.

He said the changes concerned him after "a period of crisis in CILIP" which had seen the rebrand fail and membership numbers drop. "We desperately need a strong professional association," he said. "We need it to set standards, to bring on new generations of professionals, to speak out for library services of every kind which find themselves under threat. If we mute the voice of members in the way our organisation is run, we weaken ourselves, and those who depend on the services we run will suffer."

Martyn Wade, the chair of the CILIP council, said in a statement that the council was "saddened by Tom's decision" and added that "his voice will be missed". But he insisted that that the changes to CILIP governance were based on a consultation with members "which widely supported the proposed changes".

He said: "We fully respect Tom’s decision to stand down in support of his principles and appreciate that Tom has the best interests of CILIP members at heart.  However we believe that the proposed changes to governance reflect the majority views expressed during the recent consultation, are democratic and will ensure a strong, well-governed, organisation that will grow and meet the needs of its members in the coming years."