Both CPD23 Things for this week involve networking. Thing 6 addresses online networks, and Thing 7 is about face to face networks. Networking is something that I’ve never really had to do before. My partner has recently made the transition to becoming an independent financial representative and this has required her to network as a regular part of her job. It’s been interesting to watch her go through this process, and I think it will help me as I begin networking in the LIS field.
I am feeling good about my usage of online networks, and these online networks have been my sole source of networking so far. I’ve been on LinkedIn for quite awhile, and now that I’ve graduated from library school I made an effort to spruce up my page and join some groups. I was able to get recommendations from a co-worker and a professor, and I think the recommendation feature is a great strength of LinkedIn. It’s easy to add “friends” to social networks, but having recommendations on your LinkedIn shows that people actually know you and respect the work that you do. Some of the groups have been very helpful. I found out about the Careers in Federal Libraries Google group through a LinkedIn group, and I’ve gotten good feedback and support from other group members.
I’m not sure how I feel about using Facebook for professional networking. I don’t do it currently, and I don’t see a relevant place for it in my future. I use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends scattered around the world, and occasionally to relax by playing a game or two. I wouldn’t want to mix professional networking into these activities. I can, however, see the importance of having pages on Facebook for libraries and organizations. A frequent discussion in LIS is the need to meet patrons where they are, and if your patrons are using Facebook it makes sense to connect with them there. My organization doesn’t have a Facebook page, and this is something I’ve suggested to our Director so that we can become more connected to our community and publicize our events.
Finally, although I feel it’s been beaten to death as a topic, I have started using Twitter for online networking. The majority of users I follow are members of the LIS community from students through well-respected professionals. I have made connections, and enhanced connections with some of my classmates from library school. I hope that when I get an opportunity for some face-to-face networking that my Twitter network will have already introduced me to some of my fellow networkers.
The last sentence should give an indication that I haven’t yet attended any face-t0-face networking events. I do belong to theALAand ACRL, but haven’t had the time or financial means to attend any meetings. This is something I would certainly like to do in the future. I am also job searching across the country, so I don’t want to join any regional networks until I know I’m settled somewhere for at least a year or two. I think that local professional networks are a good first step because they are smaller and have more opportunities to meet and become involved. I had to explore professional networks as an assignment in my first quarter of school, and I am thankful for that opportunity because it got me thinking on a global/networking perspective early on in my journey.
As far as professional networks go I have good role models. My mother is a retired Library Media Specialist and she is still an active member of several professional organizations. I grew up watching her going to meetings and conferences with other library professionals, and I have seen how much value this added to both her career and personal life. I’m hoping to eventually attend a library related event with her some day! In my current job I work with therapists and lawyers to provide services to victims of domestic and sexual violence. One of the therapists I worked with is an art therapist and she is very active in that community. One of the lawyers I work with is an activeABAmember who has won awards for her service to the organization. I have had discussions with them about their dedication and their willingness to put in the extra effort in their professions, and I find their dedication to be very inspirational. Watching them has helped me to change my mindset and realize that being active within one’s professional community can be very rewarding on a personal level, not to mention the professional opportunities that can be offered.