I’m a member of a number of professional bodies;
CILIP (I’m on two committees)
SLA (special not school libraries)
CLIG (City Legal Information Group)
NGLIS (Network of Government Library & Information Specialists)
LIKE (I’m a ‘host’)
LISNPN (if that counts)
SPR (Society of Property Researchers)
This is all quite pricey as work only pays for CILIP and SPR. CLIG and NGLIS are both quite cheap and LIKE is free to join but SLA and BIALL are fairly painful cost-wise. I do, however, think it is important. I work in a small team in a subject area which probably never employs more than fifteen librarians. As such, I need to keep professionally involved with people outside of that sphere. This is both in order to develop and as a safeguard. I think that law firms are sufficiently similar to property consultancies that I can attend events and read articles and take a large amount to apply to my own work. SLA is for people working in special libraries so that slightly broader remit ensures that I have relevant stuff to see and do. NGLIS is not a group which has too much that can be applied directly but some of the same challenges remain for all librarians. As for safeguarding, if I ever lose my job, the chances of me getting a property job are fairly slim so I need to ensure I have networks in other areas. Without being a BIALL and CLIG member, for example, I don’t know if I would realise the extent to which my work is like that of a law firm librarian. The most important reason I am a member of these organisations is that I can attend events. I believe I have mentioned before that I like learning to just float in, well attending events is how this happens. I attend events and sometimes it is really relevant, sometimes not, but usually something will be of interest and lurk in my brain until needed. This also means I have four or five journals and some newsletters and emails to read which help me keep involved and potentially give me a number of places to publish.
Within CILIP I am a CDG, CILIP in London and CLSIG member as these are the groups which are most relevant to me. Many people do not choosr their branch but I did. I live in the East of England catchment but work in London so I decided that it would be better to go to events in London which I could get to after work rather than in Cambridge which I could not get to before 6.45 at the earliest by which time most of the EoE events are finishing. I really do want to go to an EoE event at some point because they seem like a really nice bunch but I’ll need to take leave to do so whereas London events start around 6pm which is a better time for someone who ceases working at 5.30pm.
I don’t to go on about the greatness of CILIP in London or CDG because it would be too weird but just would say that if you want to get involved we’d be very pleased.
My other group is Commercial, Legal & Scientific Information and I really like what they do. The newsletter is good and the events are always interesting and generally with very good nibbles.
I have to say that networking in person was not fun when I first started but the more I made myself have conversations, the more people I knew and the easier it became to the extent that now I have started attending events that aren’t really library ones e.g. Gurteen Knowledge Cafesn& despite assuming I’d know no one I walked in already knowing four people in the room. It is even more pointed when at library events where I quite often know half of the room.
I have to say that I don’t spend as much time on committee work as I ought at the moment – I’m so busy that it is more or less just me chipping in over email! I have learnt many things at all of the events I have attended but also I think I have become a more patient person and a more forceful one through my committee work as I have felt the need to chip in and have had to sit there and listen to things with which I disagree.
I am considering (have been for a while but this has brought it back into mind) joining ALA, ALIA, LIANZA and AIIP. I’m not sure if I will as I probably do have a good number of bodies already who actually are in the same country as me but I’m going to check it out.
Just as a footnote I’d really like to thank Alan Fricker, Meghan Jones and Steve Cook for arranging a really interesting and fun meeting for CILIP in London to tie in with this ‘thing’. I think we got about 55 attendees which is brilliant so thanks to any Londoners who turned up too! I hope that you will attend lots of branch and group events even if you don’t join a committee!