CILIP, the UK-based professional body for library and information professionals, has announced the suspension of its public access training programme.
These are difficult economic times, and information roles in all sectors are under threat. Organisations in straitened circumstances have to make difficult decisions and it is unhappily true that staff development is very often considered a ‘nice to have’ rather than critical to organisational success. CILIP had to make a pragmatic decision based on the fact that not enough people were booking training courses.
In a more positive light, a key thread of the LinkedIn discussions initiated by the announcement is the key role played by CILIP’s 27 Special Interest Groups (SIGs) in providing at cost/low cost training and professional support. These events can often be developed and delivered quickly as a direct response to the needs of members.
‘Informal’ or networked learning and training will almost certainly become more important to the profession. We have already witnessed the development of librarians’ TeachMeets; the attendance of conferences ‘by proxy’; keeping up-to date and challenged via trusted Twitterfeeds and blogs; the development of ‘unconferences’ (self organised gatherings with no structured programming. The truth of the matter is that we will need to manage our own professional development even more proactively, and do so very often with a zero budget.
CILIP meanwhile will continue to deliver in-house training and, of course, national conferences. The discussions about the role of CILIP in providing professional development will no doubt continue in Hatfield in July!