Networking Not As Intimidating As It May Sound
July 11, the ALA Office of Human Resource Development and Recruitment sponsored
Networking for Career Success, a workshop aimed at changing the perception
many of us have that networking is a scary activity. The workshop
was led by the Offices chair, Vicki Burger, Northwestern University.
isnt something that necessarily comes real naturally to our librarian population,
she stated. Burger stressed that we all already have a personal network of family,
friends, neighbors and others upon whom we we can draw. We should not limit ourselves
to only thinking about our professional contacts within our respective fields.
If you are a school librarian, not everyone in your network should be a school
You just dont
know who knows who, Burger said. Realizing this can make a difference in
how you experience a conference such as ALA, where sometimes we go to sessions
and we dont think about all the connections that all the people around us
have. A network becomes especially valuable in this economy, where it can
be the difference between getting and not getting a job. Something related
to networking is 90 percent of getting jobs in this environment, Burger
One of the reasons many of us are resistant to networking is that we feel it is somehow using another person for our own gain. Networking, however, allows you to give as well as get information. We are building a web of alliances that are can help us, but we are also making ourselves available to help others. As librarians, you have access and an interest in making connections and gathering information, Burger said.
Burger shared some important tools of the trade for networking. First, you need personal or professional business cards. If you are a student, a recent graduate, or in between jobs, you can look into sites such as zizzle.com, vistaprint.com, or even office supply stores that help you design and print business cards. Just remember, the card is something to use after you have a reason for contacting them again. Second, you need to be prepared to talk about yourself, so you should prepare a 60 to 90-second introduction that covers a brief career summary, why you are looking for work, and a specific descrip- tion of your target position, function or role, or what organization you want to work with. Write it down, practice it with somebody so you know how long youre taking you dont want to be rambling, she emphasized. Third, you need a system of keeping track of contacts, when you last spoke to them, their interests, etc.
Burger stressed the value of an informational interview. Use the network to find someone working in the field or in a role that you are interested in. Give them a specific way that they can help you. Like a job interview, but not stressful, it gives you an opportunity to explore specific jobs and clarify your career goals, discover unadvertised job opportunities, expand your professional network, and build confidence for job interviews. Dont use it to ask about job openings! Have a set of questions prepared to ask, and only leave a resume if they request it. Remember, the whole idea is to have this go to the next person, then the next person, so youre connecting your web of resources, concluded Burger.
Authors Emphasize Making Connections with Young People
Corning Museum of Glass, NY
full crowd attended the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Presidents
Program, Literacy Leadership and Librarian Flair: Engaging 21st-Century
Readers to hear three renowned childrens authors extol the value of
the book, reading, and the role of librarians in bringing literature to young
Laurie Halse Anderson,
author of the award-winning book Speak, as well as Catalyst and Twisted, began
the presentation with a promise. I feel like this is our blind date. Our
real date will be in November, because I will be in Charlotte, she said,
referring to the upcoming AASL National Conference.
have to be clear and honest. In moments of crisis, when it is most scary, we have
the greatest opportunity, Anderson advised. The children, more than
anyone, need us. As a child, she read thousands of books checked out from
the school library. She believes her experience underscores the importance of
organizations like AASL. The librarians in [the students] lives are
saviors. Anderson read several e-mails from her young readers, including
one by a young man who had attempted suicide three times, which highlighted the
impact of books and reading in their lives. She told a story of a young man who
went through a whole week of school, without anyone speaking to him until he was
greeted by the school librarian.
theme of the saving grace of books in the lives of young readers was echoed by
Alan Sitomer, award-winning author of Homeboyz and an English teacher in inner
city Los Angeles. Sitomer, who has won numerous awards for his teaching, drove
home the spectacular importance of reading
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Best selling author Neil Gaiman autographs a copy of his John Newbery Medal-winning The Graveyard Book for Danielle Rill, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Cleveland, Ohio, at the HarperCollins booth as hundreds of librarians line up to have their books signed.
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Lopez mentioned the many lessons that he has learned from his association with Ayers. The most affecting person in my life Ayers has been a gift. This experience has led Lopez to: call for better funding of community services in order to take the responsibility from family members who are not equipped to handle the intricacies of such diseases and to puzzle over the remaining stigma of mental illness, which apparently does not have the support in charity runs that physical ailments do. Lopez declared that, for Ayers at least, the medicine is music, Disney Hall is the hospital, and musicians are the physicians. Knowing his purpose and knowing his passion, Lopez observed that his friend is a man at peace with his musicit is where he belongs, comparable to the situation of a writer and language. If his book highlights needs that public policy should address, lifts the veil shrouding mental illness, and details the saving power of the arts, Lopez will have fulfilled his purpose, whether or not he turns the story into a trilogy in both print and in film as the resilient Ayers has urged him to do.