There's a gibbet in Ridgmount Street, and from it hang the bodies of people who stood for election in CILIP, promising to change the organisation. It's an awful warning, but in spite of that, I am putting myself forward for Council. I don't do so believing that I can do any better; but I do think that the members, if they're prepared to assert themselves as they did at the AGM last month, can bring about some real change of direction.
I'm writing my election address. In it I will make the following points:
1. The biggest problem we face is our catastrophic loss of members. No demographic excuses can explain away the fact that an organisation that could once claim nigh on 25,000 members has been reduced to 13,500 or thereabouts. Doing something about that, not rebranding, has to be the very first priority for Council.
2. One of our central professional beliefs is that information should be freely available. But we practice this only half-heartedly when it comes to our own affairs. Where is the report of the Governance Review? Council know what it says. Why have they not shared it with us?
3. Campaigners for libraries, chiefly but not exclusively public libraries, are disappointed in us. They expect us to play a part in defending services against a succession of philistine governments. We need to put that right. The vote of no confidence in Ed Vaizey at the AGM was a start. We should not waste it.
If we return to performing the key functions of a professional association, and couple that with an intensive campaign to recruit, then we have a chance. If we carry on as we have for the past few years, the decline will continue, to the point of extinction.