A network for new and aspiring library professionals
After observing a Twitter conversation discussing the merits of professional registration we thought we would tackle the subject of Chartership looking at the reasons for it and those against. The first part of this discussion is provided by Daniel Livesey.
When I was asked to write a post for NLPN, I thought – fantastic! Then Helen explained the topic. Defending professional registration as a Candidate Support Officer (CSO) is easy. I am able to use the well-worn CILIP arguments which appeal to members who are already curious about professional registration; but I want to argue the case for professional registration as a regular CILIP member and this is trickier. This is an opportunity to appeal to those who are dubious or unconvinced by the benefits of professional registration and so I will try not to use any of my regular workshop slides as foundations for an argument.
Firstly, professional registration is about more than getting an increase in pay. Nurses revalidating with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) do not receive any additional money in their pay packet but this seems to be a key point for the ‘against’ camp. Some librarians may have gained an increment if they chartered some time ago but to me this is entirely missing the point. Professional registration is a personal process. It is about your career, your goals, your weaknesses and how you overcome them. It encourages you to develop skills that will benefit your organisation but they will also stand you in good stead over the course of your career.
Secondly, professional registration and revalidation are excellent ways to become an effective, reflective practitioner. Reflective practitioners are able to challenge assumptions of practice and critically evaluate the work they do in order to become more effective. It is not always an easy process and developing your skills takes time. Accreditation and Chartership are great ways to not only develop these skills but also keep them refreshed throughout your career by revalidating your ACLIP/MCLIP or FCLIP with CILIP.
Professional registration also values the knowledge of the wider profession. As training and development budgets become more susceptible to cuts, there is a genuine danger that we become more insular. Learning from cross-sectoral experiences can be really beneficial and professional registration is a great way to get to know other sectors. I professionally registered as a librarian in public libraries and whilst putting together my own portfolio I shadowed a Clinical Librarian in the NHS. I enjoyed the experience so much that a year later I applied for my current role. I wouldn’t have thought about the transition had it not been for the shadowing experience and this really opened doors for me and my career.
Finally, a common argument I’ve heard recently is that employers don’t value professional registration. It is my personal opinion that employers will value professional registration, but only if they value their librarians. It is partially up to us as CILIP members to emphasise the impact we make but also make the case for our own professional development. In many organisations, our employers may not be librarians. We might be skilled at demonstrating our impact but we should also shout about why CILIP membership is important to us. Of course, CILIP has work to do in this area too, but we are a member led organisation and we cannot expect CILIP HQ to do all the work.
The other side of the debate can be found here.