CILIP and training

As reported elsewhere, CILIP is once again revising its Framework of Qualifications.

It’s not so long ago that the FoQ was revamped, with ACLIP joining MCLIP and new routes to Chartership being introduced.

The value of Chartership is a frequent matter of discussion. Some sectors value it, others patchily. It is a necessity for higher pay grades in some areas, not heard of in others. Whether it truly represents development, or is just an exercise in paper filling.

It is this that needs to be addressed. How can Chartership meaningfully be called a gold standard when it’s not a standard at all? And can CILIP afford, literally and metaphorically, consultant led navel gazing?

Already in HE, membership of the HE Academy is seen as a more worthwhile choice than Chartership. In the public libraries debate there are those who question CILIP’s role in setting qualifications standards.

CILIP needs to make more of a case for a system of library training and education before it tinkers with the FoQ. Involving other interested parties- university, employer and council bodies- could be a useful start. This would make library courses, and the Chartership process, more responsive to needs whilst maintaining a ‘long view’ flexibility.

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13 Responses to CILIP and training

  1. Tim says:

    CILIP are always whingeing about how the Government lets them down– yet in 2005 the Select Committee on Public Libraries called on CILIP to make its training routine for public libraries more relevant to the management needs of the operation. In response to that very sensible suggestion CILIP have done nothing- zilch. They don’t deserve a charter or have any credibility. No council should feel they ought to employ CILIP members– they will get much better staff elsewhere.

    Qualifications and degrees are worth nothing– it’s the experience and ability to do the job that matters. You are not owed anything because you have a piece of paper– not in this field.

  2. Pete says:

    Councils don’t have to employ CILIP members- indeed no-one does. There’s no legal requirement for it.

    So are quals and degrees worth nothing only in this field? Noone is owed anything because of a piece of paper, true- not just librarians. If I couldn’t do my job well, I’d be fired, and rightly so.

    As I said, CILIP are not solely a public library body. That said, their standards should reflect the diversity of the sectors they serve- as my post suggests.

    There must be some sort of training and education regime for library work, be it public or private sector. On the job training is part of that, but not all. And what ‘experience’ is useful for librarians?

    What is you regime for public library training Tim? It’s jolly fun to bash CILIP and all, but where’s the beef?

  3. Tim says:

    In public libraries people who don’t do their job well don’t get fired. They hang around for hundreds of years. Look around you.

  4. Pete says:

    I’ve not had bad service in a public library to be honest Tim. Some bad workflow issues, but never bad service.

    Now in shops. Poor service yes. Not bad, in the sense of annoying or rude- just ill informed or sale (rather than customer) focussed.

    I appreciate this is not quite what you’re getting at, but I can’t speak to ‘back room’ failings or the like.

    And incompetents staying in post is not restricted to libraries. Indeed incompetents moving from job to job and doing very well out of it is a persistent feature of our economy. Look around you Tim.

    Oh and can I have an answer to my question please? How would you train public library workers for effective service?

  5. Tim says:

    By giving them the means to give good service. By empowering them with their own stock and staff budgets and by reducing the amount of management in the system. By giving them the freedom to do their own outreach. By making them accountable to their own community and responsible to their council for providing the best library – by respecting them.. and not letting them sit in an office anywhere, ever.

  6. Pete says:

    Ah the office thing. Cos noone in shops is ever in an office or out on a trip are they? They are always there, always serving. I’ll put that to the Area Manager when I’m next in *grin*

    Still, school librarians manage on total contact time.

    And respecting library staff? The same group of people you pillory so often? The ‘yickers’ and ‘whingers’ who blame everyone else for their problems? Can you respect them?

    And- councillors aside, who definitionally apeak for*part* of the community- how do you make them accountable to the community? Not just the shouty bits of it, or the articulate ones, or the ones you are like- or the library staff are like?

    Those things said, abstract though it still is- it’s not a training regime as such, more a set of desiderata, and I am sure it would be more rigid in practice than it is on the screen- there’s not much to quibble about.

  7. Tom says:

    Tim: as a non-fan of CILIP and the FOQ I was looking forward to you putting forward something a little more definite than you proposed. As someone who sits in the office all the time (as a cataloguer) I was also dismayed at the thought that the only good librarians are the ones crusading round the issue desk. I assume, however, you are thinking more of higher library management who need to think about real library service rather than sitting in front of an Excel spreadsheet all day and having meetings.

    I think Pete is right in suggesting that we need a replacement model for library training that doesn’t involve bandying round words like “empowering”, and letting people get on with it and hoping it works. A more definite model of accountability also seems necessary. I have clogged up poor Pete’s weblog before with the suggestion that the library degree be replaced with short but intense and properly rigorous courses dealing with precise skills, e.g. cataloguing, reference services, acquisitions, or selection. Because these are taken individually as necessary, they show precisely what the librarian is trained to do and don’t let people like me gain an M.A. by writing a dissertation about library history which is frankly irrelavent to my current role and any role I am likely to have.

  8. Tim says:

    Tom – what are you cataloguing — not stuff for a public library, I hope?

  9. Pete says:

    Ah Tim beat me to it. See, Tom, Tim believes that pub lib cataloguing is a waste of time and money. Suppliers should (currently they don’t) be able to supply all the cataloguing a library needs.
    So, if you are a pub lib cataloguer, you’d be out of a job 😉 Or at least out of that job.

  10. Tom says:

    No, I work in an academic library. Some of the same arguments about whether we need cataloguers in each library cataloguing the same thing are arguably applicable in the academic world, although I’m going to leave that one there…

    I am not au fait with public library vendor-supplied cataloguing, although I do not know of any one supplier that I would happily accept records from unquestioned, although if we wanted to move to that kind of thing, I’m sure there are alternative collaborative models we could follow. The most frightening example from my point of view is WorldCat Local. I think, and hope, that academic libraries have enough retrospective, ebook, film, analytical, thesis cataloguing, etc, to keep them amused for a while.

  11. Pete says:

    Well, there will always be ‘grey literature,’ ephemera, theses and other local stuff that’ll need local cataloguing.

  12. Tim says:

    Yes, but not sufficient for each public library service to have a cataloguing department of ite own. You have to remember that out of a budget which represents the value that people want to pay for the service (and mostly they are perfectly reasonable if not generous)- the money not spent on books is exactly that – confining the range of the collection to less than it could be

  13. Pete says:

    Tim- to clarify I was talking about academic librarues, most of which deal with quite a lot of this type of material. Many public libraries might well do so too, especially if they want a collection to be locally representative.

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