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Libraries, Information and Knowledge Change Lives

Libraries, Information and Knowledge Change Lives

Libraries, Information and Knowledge Change Lives is CILIP’s commitment on behalf of librarians, information and knowledge professionals to tackle some of society’s most urgent challenges. It outlines our plan to become an ‘activist’ organisation, through proactive advocacy and the promotion of inclusive, participatory and socially-engaged knowledge and information services.

Case for Change

There have been a number of significant developments in recent years which create a new dynamic for change. The #MeToo movement has called time on sexual harassment and abuse. The youth movement that has emerged around Greta Thunberg has given new urgency to the need for concerted political action to counter the impact of climate change for future generations. New data has thrown light on the issues of gender inequality and pay disparity in our sector.

More generally, the atmosphere of intimidation and the legitimising of hate speech which has re-emerged in our public discourse in recent years means that people who were already at risk of being marginalised in our society and our profession are now actively afraid.

Books such as Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race, Akala’s Natives and Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give mark a fundamental shift in discussions of ethnicity and power. The emphasis is moving away from black and minority ethnic people needing to explain the experience of racism towards an expectation that the majority white population will educate themselves about the systemic barriers and prejudices in our daily lives and then take action to remove them.

As these ideas increasingly form part of mainstream discourse, there is an increased expectation that all organisations – and perhaps mission-based organisations like CILIP more than others – will have considered them and articulated how best to use our influence to bring about positive change.

The Position Paper is an important declaration on CILIP’s behalf, but it must be more than just words. We have already begun to put these commitments into action in several areas and will be developing a comprehensive programme to address them over the coming year. Our aim is to ensure that as an organisation and as a community, we are living and representing the values that define our profession.

Get involved

You can get involved in a number of ways:

Present at CILIP Conference 2020

At this year’s CILIP Conference we will be championing “everyday activism”, those things that library, information and knowledge workers are proactively doing to bring about positive social change.

In a dedicated “everyday activism” session on November 4th, we want to profile three projects, programmes or campaigns that have the objective of bringing about positive change at their heart.

Read the call for papers

Submit your entry here

Deadline, July 30th 2020

Participate in workshops and research

We will be consulting on each of the six priority areas through a combination of workshops, surveys and interviews. Register your interest in participating in this consultation by completing this form.

Submit a case study

We are collecting case studies and examples of practice which address the six priority areas set out in the Libraries, Information and Knowledge Change Lives Position Paper. This could include a service developed in response to COVID-19. Submit your case study here.

Join in the conversation

We want to encourage an open dialogue across the sector about the ideas and questions set out in page 15 of the Position Paper. Join in this conversation at #ChangingLives.


Download the full report (PDF).

Download FAQs about this Position Paper.




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