I’ve been a member of CILIP since my student days (my distance learning Library MSc student days) when it was relatively cheap to join – I remember being excited about joining this professional organization and getting a magazine once a month through the post…although its rare I actually sit down and read it all, I tend to skim it most months with all good intentions of sitting down and reading it cover to cover at a later point. As a student I felt it was giving me good connections to the professional library world, and showing me glimpses of what life could be. I’m still a member, though I always balk at the renewal prices, and wonder each year whether I should carry on. What have the Romans, er CILIP, ever done for me? Well, CILIP hasn’t actually given me “better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order….” well, ok, maybe eduation! But its kept me up to date with issues in librarianship, its provided training, conferences, networks and specialist interest groups. I dipped in and out of the specialist interest groups the first few years, but have kept up with the Health Libraries group (I used to work in a medical library, and now I have responsibility for the cataloguing of items for the Medical and Health libraries at Cardiff University, and the overseeing of the cataloguing activities of the main hospital libraries in Wales), and not surprisingly am in the Cataloguing and Indexing Group. I enjoy reading their newsletters, and keep wondering about contributing to them – hopefully will get round to it soon!
I won a sponsored place at the Health Libraries conference when it was held in Cardiff a few years back – however unfortunately I had to go into hospital that week so missed out in the end. Last year I did attend the Cataloguing and Indexing Group conference in Exeter, and thoroughly enjoyed it. A couple of my colleagues came along too, although Iwas the only one who stayed for the full conference. I feel its a shame its only once every two years, but am looking forward to next year (and wondering where it will be!).
CILIP was also able to provide some tailor made training on cataloguing rare books for my team last year, and the trainer came to Cardiff to deliver it.
Although I wouldn’t call it a professional organisation as such, I am also involved with CLIC (Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation), and have recently become the chair of the staff development sub-group. We organise free training/staff development events for library staff in Cardiff – whichever sector they work in, so higher education, public libraries, specialist libraries, school libraries etc etc. The events are great places to network, and to share skills and experience.
Outside of librarianship I am a member of the Classical Association – as three of my higher education qualifications are all in Ancient History/Classics (OK I admit I have far too many letters after my name!). I lapsed for a number of years, as obviously I am now a librarian not an academic. But its the kind of organisation that has a wide remit for membership, and welcomes non-professionals. As a member, apart from receiving newsletters etc I am also eligible to attend their annual conference. This is something I did every year when I was a postgraduate, but stopped doing so when I moved into the library world, however, after a long gap I did attend last year when it was hosted by Cardiff University (I couldn’t not go with it on my doorstep!). It was just as fascinating and enjoyable as I remembered them being, although I couldn’t help feeling a bit like an interloper. I came away feeling all fired up and ready to offer a paper to the next conference, but reigned in my ambitions with the reality of not really having the time to do the proper research, and the fear of standing up in front of people who would probably know the subject in a greater depth than I now do – they really do ask quite penetrating questions at these conferences!
I might not be offering papers to Classics conferences any time soon, but I have presented at the WHELF/HEWIT conference at Gregynog last year (he Welsh higher education libraries and computing conference), and I have a few ideas for articles up my sleeve, just need a bit of time to get writing.
Well, I haven’t done it yet this week, but I now fully intend to investigate LISNPN to see whether this is an organisation that I could benefit from being part of.