I am changing jobs next month and will no longer be working in public libraries. Instead I will be based in an academic learning resources centre for language students and anyone who wants to learn languages. This made me look at membership of different organisations in the last couple of days and (once again) review if CILIP is the best organisation for me at this point. My membership only runs out in November, so there are still a few months to decide and shop around if necessary.
As you know (if you read my blog regularly) I’ve had my doubts about CILIP since re-joining last November. The membership team and @CILIPinfo on twitter are great, as are many of CILIP’s members. I am convinced that many of them I would have encountered via twitter and other means anyway though, but that’s not relevant for this post.
Unfortunately my regional group failed to get in touch so far, even though I contacted them via the CILIP website. (By the way, a nearby regional group has been in touch via twitter to invite me to their meetings.) The Public Libraries group has been asleep, as far as I am aware. The Information Services group sends a good newsletter but often I had heard of things in it already – I wonder if the library twitter bubble makes a lot of newsletter material redundant because it’s just faster?
CILIP Update is always nice and colourful but the content isn’t always cuttting edge, and I feel I would be able to find out a lot of what is in it somewhere else. Sometimes I’m not sure it’s worth paying so much for the convenience of someone pulling it together for me, especially as sometimes the opinions and news feel a bit behind to me. Maybe membership fees could be lower if you choose to only read the electronic copy? (It would also be convenient to be able to get CILIP Update on the Kindle without having to turn it into a pdf and send it to my Kindle myself. I’d probably pay for the convenience of that, to be honest.)
I have some to the conclusion that a change of special interest group might really help me to enjoy being a CILIP member more. I think I’ll ditch the Public Libraries Group and join the Academic and Research Libraries Group (ARLG) instead, especially as several people have suggested that group via twitter after I had looked at it already. (I am actually surprised that I hadn’t considered this solution before.)
I also looked at other organisations and sent out a tweet this morning asking about people’s experiences with SLA, ASLIB, CILIP and IFLA. (Any idea which of those has the largest membership base in the UK?)
Impressively, someone from ASLIB got in touch during the day to tell me about the benefits of joining them (I’m not sure if they are not too specialised for me at this point). Some other people mentioned the benefits of CILIP.
I contacted the Special Libraries Association (SLA) directly and they sent me some links about their divisions. I like the idea of joining SLA as they are international, which appeals to me as I have moved to the UK from abroad (different viewpoints!) and have worked within the European information sector for a few years. Also, SLA’s training materials look really good. I think if I joined SLA I would lean towards the academic group. I am not sure if it would be more relevant than CILIP’s ARLG though.