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In 1994, librarians were learning how to do gopher searches (younger readers, this was a way to search the internet, just before the World Wide Web came along).  Acronym-laden databases on CD-ROM were delighting/scaring our users.  I became a Chartered Member of the Library Association (now CILIP).  The information world has changed a bit since then …

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Not this sort of gopher … K Schneider, licence CC BY-NC 2.0

But my Chartership hasn’t.  For many years, you Chartered and that was that, job done.  Fellowship seemed to be only for the great and the good.  There was an optional revalidation process (when did this come in?  I can’t remember!) but it didn’t catch on.  Strange that a profession so connected with social and technological change should not require its Chartered Members to keep up with and reflect on new developments.

Well, now it does.  In 2014 CILIP introduced a much more friendly revalidation process for all levels of professional registration.  Optional, but obligatory revalidation is to be put to the vote in 2016.

The new process is not onerous.  Members must do at least 20 hours a year of continuous professional development (CPD): this can include using social media, talking to colleagues, reading professional publications and the like as well as conferences and committee work.  To revalidate, you use the CILIP Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to submit your CPD log for the year and a 250 word reflective statement.  Unlike Chartership, there’s no need to supply any evidence of the CPD, and revalidation is free.

I sent in my application a couple of weeks ago and have just heard that it has been successful!  I’m delighted and am definitely going to revalidate every year.  Doing so demonstrates to my employer and anyone else who might be interested my commitment to improving my skills.

I must admit I did NOT find the VLE easy or intuitive to use.  Fortunately  there is plenty of help to be had:

  • CILIP’s regional networks offer training sessions on revalidation.  Our local Mentor Support Officer, Maureen Pinder, who happens to be a colleague at Bradford, was most helpful.   Several librarians here are in the process of submitting and we found that a joint session sharing our problems and encouraging each other was a fun way to get it done.
  • Jo Alcock (Joeyanne Libraryanne) has written a series of posts on Hints and Tips for revalidation.  Jo was involved in developing the new scheme and ensuring it worked for busy librarians so that everyone would be able to afford the time and cost.

Best of luck to all revalidating librarians!

[Update Nov 2015: I voted for obligatory revalidation as it demonstrates professionalism and commitment to improving skills, making us individually and collectively more convincing.  I was surprised to see that 51% of voters opposed the plans.  Where next for revalidation?  Consultation and improvement!   Whether we end up with obligatory revalidation or not, I hope we can find ways to fight for the value of libraries and librarians]

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