Prior to starting my certification and after 5 years of working in libraries I joined CILIP. I joined for many reasons; The main reason was to connect with a group of like-minded individuals interested in their profession and learning more about it. I saw the many free courses available to new professionals, the support, the contacts and the network of groups available. So I signed up and now wish I had joined sooner. I also wanted to put the energy, enthusiasm and love of my job to a more constructive use: bettering myself with a qualification but also allowing me to evaluate my role in a professional context, giving me focus in areas of the profession I would like to improve and also which direction I would like to take.
Certification through CILIP allowed me to widen the professional door, increasing information and contacts and through these networks, including social media contacts to gain a wider understanding of the profession.
Joining this professional body allows me to see wider that just the public library sphere in which I work, whilst joining specific special interest groups allows me to gain in depth expertise on the issues effecting certain groups that I have more than a passing interest in, these being the PMLG (Public and Mobile Libraries Group), YLG (Youth Libraries Group) and the Library and Information Research Group from whom I receive regular newsletters.
Outside of these newsletters, these special interest groups also have a social media presence and I regularly look out for new tweets from @CILIPPMLG
Joining CILIP has allowed me to take advantage of attending free events run by specialist groups. In this past year alone highlights have included a tour from the curators of the British Library’s Terror and Wonder Gothic exhibition, (with time to ask the curators about their planning and collection), attending YLG London Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Nominations evening, PMLG’s tour of the City of London’s Business Library. Attending these tours gave me the confidence to ask other specialist libraries if I could visit them, and was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon with the Libraries, Archive and Art staff at Kew Gardens: Books AND Plants!
The support given through Professional Registration and New Professional days is very helpful and increasingly if you are unable to attend, webinars are advertised to allow members to attend this way.
Following professional bodies on their social media pages also highlights many international news articles and keeps me up-to-date with my profession. I would also recommend you join some of the support networks offered including linked groups on Facebook.
I heartily thank Amy Straker for the Facebook CILIP Chartership Group, without this group I wouldn’t have discovered Rudai23! So thank you Amy!