Thursday, 4 August 2011

#cpd23, Thing 7: 'Real-life' organisations and networks

On the subject of CILIP, and of belonging to organisations more generally, I can say nothing that hasn't already been covered most adeptly in the following three posts and their comments:
My personal attitude is to try and get involved for the greater good of all concerned. I'm a bit naive and idealistic sometimes.  But anyway, here are some more practical thoughts that may be of use:

Getting the most from CILIP

Did you know that your CILIP local branch and special interest group(s) can only communicate with you by email if you have registered on the CILIP site? Each group/branch can send a monthly email, though sadly I can't promise that they all do. No registration = no email = wondering what CILIP's doing for you. Here's how to register and check your settings (click on the images to enlarge them):

Go to and click on 'Register on this website'

After you've completed the registration process, check the 'Membership details' tab to see which branch and group(s) you're a member of.  Use the 'eBulletins' tab to sign up for CILIP central's various eBulletins.

If your branch or group isn't emailing you - get in touch with them (there should be contact information on their page on the CILIP site) and harrass them into communicating (or offer to help out!).

Useful organisations for the special collections librarian

Aside from the CILIP Rare Books and Special Collections Group (and you'll notice above that I'm not currently a member - I switched allegiances for bursary-application reasons), what's useful for rare/special folk?

  • The Historic Libraries Forum is FREE to join. They have a newsletter, an annual conference (last year's was very good), run training courses, they campaign on behalf of libraries under threat, and they've got a new mentoring scheme just starting.  Go and register.
  • AMARC is the Association for Manuscripts and Archives in Research Collections. Alison Cullingford recommends it, and membership is only £10.00.  They have two or three yearly meetings and a newsletter.
  • IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, has a Rare Books and Manuscripts Section.  I haven't managed to work out what's what regarding IFLA membership: I've heard more than once in the last year that CILIP membership gets you some sort of IFLA membership, too, and will post again when I untangle the mystery.  Anyway, the forthcoming Mid-Term Meeting, 'Ambassadors of the Book. Competences for heritage librarians', looks very interesting indeed, and is in Antwerp Where The Plantin Museum Is.
  • I understand that it's possible to be an overseas member of the American Library Association (ALA), which has a Rare Books and Manuscripts bit (RBMS). On its homepage it describes itself as a "Section [...] of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA)", and maybe that helps you understand why I haven't summoned up the wherewithal to find out more, and whether I can benefit from it at all. (The ALA website hurts my brain even more than the CILIP one.) I hear that other bits of ALA have all sorts of online training and events, but I don't see heaps of evidence of that on the RBMS pages. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong way. [4/08/11 Edited to add: a helpful tweeter points out that ARCL, the parent group does do e-learning things.]
  • There's the Archives and Records Association (ARA) for those for whom 'special' spills right over into archives.  It's a recent amalgamation of the Society of Archivists and the British Records Association.
  • In a slightly different specialist field is IAML, the International Association of Music Libraries.  As a librarian with a music degree, though no actual music librarianship experience, it has been suggested (you know who you are) that I should join to help keep my options open. International membership is 37 Euro, but I can't find the cost of UK & Ireland branch membership (it seems to get you less, so is possibly cheaper).
  • Finally, returning to the online networking business, here are a couple of Twitter lists of rare books/special collections/archives people:

Any useful groups I've missed?


  1. Branches and groups can send monthly e-mails Katie - however I believe that local divisions of special interest groups can't... so don't be too hard on them if they don't send you regular e-mails - they would love to be able to contact you ;)

  2. Fair enough. My SIGs don't have local groups (in the East, at least), so it's not something that had ever even occurred to me!

  3. Hi Chris,
    The local branches generally include stuff from local SIGs- we always request input at least!