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Terms of reference for LGBTQ+ Network Steering Group
Terms of reference for LGBTQ+ Network Steering Group


As an ethical professional organisation, CILIP is committed to ensuring that the profession reflects the full diversity of the society and communities we serve.

We know from CILIP/ARA Workforce Mapping data (2015) that c95% of female and 86.5% of male library workforce (and c93% of the information workforce as a whole) self-identify as heterosexual. These figures are broadly comparable to those for the UK as a whole – however, we also know that, in any survey, there is always a considerable number of people who are not willing to be identified as LGBTQ+ or who consider that the categories they are asked to choose from do not fit their own choice; there are also people who will not self-identify as LGBTQ+ for fear of this leading to discrimination.

Although there has been a number of UK LGBTQ+ libraries organisations since the 1970s – the Gay Librarians Group (approx. 1973-1979); the Lesbian & Gay Librarians Group (1985-c1990); and the Burning Issues Group (1994-c2000) – none of these approached the US model where the American Library Association established a Task Force on Gay Liberation in 1970 (now the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table, a formal part of the ALA).

There have been calls to set up something similar in the UK since the 1970s, and, following the establishment of the CILIP BAME Network earlier this year, and the enthusiastic response to the Diversity seminar at the 2019 CILIP Conference, CILIP has committed to forming a new LGBTQ+ Information Professionals Network to provide a platform for networking and career development for librarians and information professionals who identify as LGBTQ+. The Network will also establish a community with which CILIP can work in order to address both the specific developmental needs of LGBTQ+ information professionals and the perspective of LGBTQ+ professionals on our wider Workforce Strategy. The LGBTQ+ Network will be a CILIP supported group rather than a Member Network.

CILIP’s intenton to launch the Network was announced at the CILIP conference in Manchester in July 2019.

Governance of the Steering Group

The Steering Group will be a committee of the CILIP Board, as allowed under paragraph 55 of the CILIP Bye-Laws. It will report to the CILIP Board. The Steering Group will be Co-Chaired by Binni Brynolf and John Vincent, who were nominated by CILIP’s Community, Diversity and Equality Group.

It will be a task-and-finish group, operational only for as long as is needed to set up the Network and oversee the first election to its committee. There will be no automatic right to transition into the Network itself.

Membership of the Steering Group

Library, knowledge and information workers who identify as LGBTQ+ who wish to join the Steering Group will be invited to submit a short application setting out the knowledge and experience they could bring to it, along with details of their level and sector. The Chairs will make a selection from these applications, ensuring different levels and sectors are represented. The Chairs will also at their discretion invite other suitably qualified people to participate. Membership will number no more than eight.

Objectives of the Steering Group

The Steering Group’s role will be to:

  • Scope the LGBTQ+ Network
  • Determine how the Network should operate, who can join it, how often it should meet and where
  • Determine its governance structure, including the procedure for elections to its committee
  • Make recommendations as to the Network’s relationship to CILIP, including reporting mechanisms, working within parameters set down by the CILIP Board
  • Make recommendations as to how the Network can feed into CILIP’s Equalities and Diversity Action Plan, if doing so is deemed by the Steering Group to be within scope

    The Steering Group will also:

  • Continue to co-ordinate the Network until its first committee is elected. This work will include:
    • Organising the Network’s launch event, and any activities at CILIP conference
    • Helping with the promotion of, and recruitment to, the Network when it is first launched
    • Setting up a web presence for the Network on the CILIP website (after training)
    • Overseeing elections to the Network’s first committee
    • Setting up a LGBTQ+ Allies Forum


    Terms of Reference for the ongoing functioning of the Network Update reports to CILIP Board in November 2019 and March, July and September 2020


  • £1000 to support setup costs


  • Applications to join the Steering Group invited: W/C October 7th 2019
  • Closing date for applications: November 1st 2019
  • Selection of Steering Group members: November 6th 2019
  • Notify successful and unsuccessful applicants: By close of November 8th 2019
  • Announce Steering Group members: W/C November 11th 2019
  • First meeting of the Steering Group: December 3rd. This will be a half day, face-to-face meeting at CILIP (travelling expenses will be reimbursed)
  • Terms of Reference sent to CILIP Board electronically: January 2020
  • LGBTQ+ Network launched: February 2020 (launch event will be held during LGBT History Month)
  • Steering Group review meeting (virtual meeting to review progress and plan conference events): March/April 2020
  • Progress report to CILIP Board: In time for July Board Meeting
  • LGBTQ+ Network networking opportunities and seminar/s at CILIP conference (details tbc): July 2020
  • Steering Group review meeting (virtual meeting to review progress and finalise preparations for election to the Network’s committee): July 2020
  • Call for LGBTQ+ Network members to stand for election to the Network’s committee: July 2020
  • Elections held: September/October 2020
  • Progress report to CILIP Board: In time for September Board Meeting
  • Steering Group handover to Network’s committee: October 2020
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