Rather than rehashing old ground I covered in 2011 I want to concentrate on three organisations in particular.
Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP)
I have been a CILIP member for 19 years and have been a Chartered member for 10 years. Last year I talked about how much I had got out of being a committee member of the sub-group Career Development Group. Sadly I am now beginning to question the value of membership and if I should renew for 2013.
My employer pays for one professional membership each for professional staff, in my case they pay for my membership of the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians as membership of this association is considered vital for my role. This means I have to pay CILIP membership fees out of my own pocket and it’s not cheap, leading me to consider why I remain in membership.
Number one reason to stay a member is to retain my chartered status. If I want to move to a new organisation this might become very important. However my current employers are more interested in my ability to do the job rather than my CILIP qualifications and I’m not looking for a new job at the moment (fingers crossed it stays that way).
Of course I now hear you all shout that merely being chartered isn’t enough and that I should be revalidating. True, enough time has elapsed for me to have completed a couple of cycles of revalidation, and I have had a couple of half-hearted attempts at putting a portfolio together but am suffering from a lack of motivation along with a lack of willingness to give up too much of my weekend to revalidation. I do lots of CPD and keep up to date anyway, I just haven’t formalised it with CILIP, I don’t feel my career has suffered in any way from this so far.
I am registered as a chartership mentor but don’t currently have any mentees so no longer feel compelled to stay in membership so as not to let them down.
And most importantly I no longer feel that I am getting much out of my membership. There are few events on in Scotland, and most of them aren’t relevant enough to me to warrant taking time off work and paying for the course myself, and certainly not relevant enough that my employer would pay. I do flick through Update every month but rarely actually read that much of it. It’s great for maintaining awareness of the library world in general but I can do that for free via blogs and twitter.
I feel very conflicted about the possibility of leaving the main organisation for my profession, I have another 6 months to decide and make sure I make the correct decision.
Scottish Law Librarians Group (SLLG)
I’ve been a member of the SLLG since 1998 and I recently decided that now is the time to give something back to the Group so I answered a call for new committee members. It’s a small committee so although I only joined officially on 1st May I’ve already been put to work!
I am SLLG editor for the On Firmer Ground blog, I haven’t written a post myself yet but I have added a post on behalf of another SLLG member. I’ve found being involved with On Firmer Ground has rekindled my interest in professional blogging and got me posting on this blog again.
SLLG is a very sociable organisation and the first “event” I organised was a fun one. We had an interesting visit to the library at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery followed by a delicious meal in a nearby restaurant.
At the last committee meeting a couple of days ago I somehow ended up agreeing to take over as secretary to cover maternity leave. Better get those minutes typed up …..
It’s an exciting time for SLLG with a new website coming soon, I think I am really going to enjoy being more involved.
Special Libraries Association (SLA)
I am not a member of the SLA but I am seriously considering joining as it looks like an organisation that I might get a lot of value from. A twitter and LinkedIn contact has kindly lent me her copy of the SLA journal and done me some screen shots of the members’ area of the website so I can get a clearer idea of the benefits of membership. I think I’ll give it a go and see if SLA can provide what I am missing from CILIP, there’s nothing to lose (except a year’s memebership fee!) and there may be lots to gain.
My concluding thoughts for thing 7 are that whichever organisation or organisations you decide to join get involved, don’t just be a passive member and you’ll get so much more out of your membership. And please don’t be put off by my current negative stance on CILIP, if you work in a more mainstream sector you will no doubt find it much more useful than I do.