Friday, 11 November 2011

CILIP Councillor Election Hustings - a virtual experience

As I was unable to get into London yesterday evening, I decided to follow the CILIP 2012 hustings online.  This was possible since CILIP was helpfully livestreaming the event (which has been recorded and can be viewed here) and there was also a twitter hashtag allocated (#CILIP2012).

John Kirriemuir has already posted an excellent review of the evening, from an attendees point of view, so I will try and avoid duplicating any of the points he's already made.

So what was the experience like as a virtual participant?  The video worked really well (although from the twitter stream I believe there were one or two people who had difficulty getting it to run).  The only real problem I experienced was with the sound quality.  There were two table-microphones in view, but Sue Cook on the end of the row (and to a lesser extent Maria Cotera next to her) were virtually inaudible at times. 

The twitter stream displayed alongside the video on the CILIP page didn't seem to be updating without refreshing the screen, so rather than risk disrupting the video stram, I ran my own HootSuite stream in the background and checked it regularly as a substitute, which worked out fine.

Some of the key quotes that I picked up on, and tweeted about last night, included:

Q. How should CILIP increase membership?

Liz Mcgettigan we tell each other how wonderful we are - we should have a conference & invite people from other disciplines

Maria Cotera Start by bringing back those that have left - show them a reason to rejoin

Liz Mcgettigan Create a website or tools for people to use to sell the benefits of having librarians to employers

Mike Hosking Make CILIP seem less 'top down' and more belonging to, and owned by, members

Mike Hosking (Provide) better information career development guidance, less focused on traditional (physical?) library based careers

Sue Westcott Widen Chartership so it's more available (perceived as more available) to non-traditional LIS workers, take more care about the language used so it's more inclusive

Sue Westcott Talking publically about issues of wider public interest (Wikileaks for eg), would make more people want to join CILIP

Sue Westcott It's up to us to go out and find other communities who could be part of our profession and take a positive messasge to them

Maria Cotera The key thing is to listen, to what people's requirements are, not just partner for the sake of it, not just listen to friends but to 'enemies' too so we expand our circle

Q. Should CILIP increase its partnerships?

Sue Westcott We should think of partnerships in two ways; to partner with other information groups & to partner with commercial or other organisations to deliver services

Liz Mcgettigan CILIP needs to be selective about who they partner with

Sue Cook We need to be aware partnerships don't last forever, be flexible, and go for strategic partnerships

Mike Hosking CILIP needs to be in a partnership with organisations in the education sector

Q. How would you make members not in London feel more a part of CILIP?

Sue Westcott CILIP needs to think about having an internal dialogue about how people in the regions want to be included and catered for

Mike Hosking Branches & groups are key but we need to look at them with fresh eye, use new tech to bridge distances & get people to band together

Maria Cotera In other organisation I've been involved with, we used to hold a conference & other meetings at different locations around the country; CILIP needs to establish new models of working

Q. Where are borders of LIS profession, which skill sets are in or out?

Sue Cook There is a core set (of skills), but each job I've had has needed new things as well - so it's varied

Maria Cotera The most important skills are the softer ones like communication or advocacy

Sue Westcott Anyone who puts the right people together with the right information = an LIS professional, wherever they work

Liz Mcgettigan The basic skills (I believe she meant the core technical LIS skills) are important, plus the ability to engage, network and advocate are key

*sorry to any of the candidates if your comments are underrepresented, but as I mentioned above I had difficulty hearing some of the replies, some of the time.

Overall it was great to be able to participate remotely, and to see the candidates reactions in real time, which of course isn't possible with the ehustings. In fact, I believe there were more virtual participants (someone tweeted there were 28 viewing the live stream at one point) than physical attendees. 

Even so, that only makes a total of 38 people taking part, which seems a woefully low proportion of CILIP's 16,000 or so members.  Being somewhat controversial here, is it fair to say that, if people don't take part in the democratic process, then they have less right to complain about how things are run?  Of course some of those members had other engagements last night, or no access to an internet computer, but even so surely a couple of hundred could have shown an interest, at this critical juncture in the organisations life? 


  1. Thanks Nicola! It's worth pointing out that as it took place at commuter time there have been more people like myself who watched the event after it was over, again thanks to the excellent work at making it available online.

  2. Hi Niamh
    Thanks for your comment and I take your point that more people were able to watch the recording later on; I believe someone tweeted that by the next day some 150 people had seen it. I hope that by now this figure has risen even more, and that everyone found the hustings useful in helping them decide who to vote for =)

  3. While I would have liked (and had expected) a few more people being present at the hustings event, I really enjoyed being given the opportunity to respond to people's questions in real time and to interact with others, both those present and also those on twitter (I followed twitter comments during the event).

    I am sorry if some people couldnt hear some of us properly because of the way the seats and microphones had been allocated, I hope most people got the essence of our messages and some of you will have a clearer idea about whom to vote for now.

    Please use your vote.