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What’s Your Theme – Make the connection

What’s Your Theme – Make the connection

By Rick Kowalski, Senior Research Librarian, Consumer Electronics Association

My theme as a librarian is inspired in part by my recent obsession with modular synthesizers. For those who are unfamiliar, these musical devices create sound from the connections and interactions of various electronic circuits. At first glance, the synthesizer may look like a mad scientist project or a phone operator’s switchboard, with cables running every which way. I sometimes have to connect dozens of modules to get the desired outcome. It may look like a mess, but I assure you, it takes experience and knowledge to place the connections exactly where they are needed. And this is not so different from what I do in my professional work.

I connect people to the information they need every day. Sometimes I do this reactively, responding to inquiries on the fly. At other times, I proactively take the nuggets of knowledge that I have picked up and give them to colleagues that might be interested. I enjoy these connections because they are part of the discovery and learning process. I love it when someone I help has an “Aha!” moment because of what I have found. And the great thing about the learning process is that it is ongoing; answers to questions beget more questions, which beget more answers and connections being made.

I also enjoy making connections while I assemble my research findings for others. I learn a lot in the process, but I also love the efficiency of the end result: One document that ties data from disparate sources together in a concise package.

But making the connection is not just about creating an informative deliverable. It is also about connecting people to one another. In many cases, my answer to someone’s inquiry is not a document, website or article; it is a person. People are great resources. Fostering relationships and making sure the right people are collaborating can be extremely valuable to your library and your organization.

On that note, working in an association and being active in the Special Libraries Association has made me recognize the importance of making connections with other people. I find networking to be overwhelming at times, but my past experience assures me that it is well worth the effort. Speaking with old connections and making new connections are great ways to learn more about trends in our profession and in our respective industries. I like the sense of solidarity that comes with sharing success stories, experiences and challenges with my colleagues.

There are many opportunities for making the connection in our profession. And just like with my synthesizer, once the connections are made, its music to my ears.

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