We in the Information Literacy Group committee are aware of the significant concerns raised by many members of our community around a recent article published in Information Professional. We know also that many of our members and supporters have been waiting for us to address these concerns. We chose not to make an official Group response on social media around this topic as this did not seem the best forum for this kind of statement. However, we realise our public silence may have made it appear we were not interested in engaging with this topic. This is very far from being the case. The below statement sets out our actions so far.
In its January-February edition, Information Professional carried an article entitled “Dominic Cummings: Libraries are ‘desperately needed’”. The article provoked a strong Twitter reaction from many library workers, including CILIP members. The CILIP BAME Network has also expressed its concerns in a statement to CILIP Senior Leadership team and has sought the views of its own members and allies.
The Information Literacy Group committee shares these understandable concerns. On 28th February 2020 we wrote to CILIP’s Chief Executive, Nick Poole, and to CILIP’s Member Network Forum, outlining our disquiet. We also shared our views with the CILIP BAME Network and asked for them to be taken into account during the review they are undertaking.
We are currently awaiting a response from CILIP but, in the meantime, we would welcome thoughts and reactions from our members, and indeed from the wider information literacy community. We hope that lessons can be learnt about the uncritical reporting of views that fail to pay sufficient attention to context. We are however aware that events related to COVID-19 are at the foremost of people’s minds currently, and therefore appreciate that an investigation into this matter and response from CILIP may take longer than normal.