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What’s Your Theme? – Always Network!

What’s Your Theme? – Always Network!

By Ramona Howerton, DC/SLA Treasurer

Oh! The places you’ll go, the people you’ll meet, and the things you’ll learn!

Don’t wait until you need a job or to learn a new skill to network.  It’s the people and opportunities along the way that keep us moving onward and upward in our careers.  Although networking has never directly helped me get a position, each time I move I immediately join the local professional networking groups, especially SLA.  It is through organizations such as SLA that I learn of new trends in library and information science.

Do you know how much has changed since I received my MLS in 1996?  Web-based browsers, search engines, Knowledge Management, Competitive Intelligence. Web 2.0 (and up!), Open Source, Information Architecture, Big Data, Data Curation, and resources, resources, and more resources.  I am generally behind the curve but, thanks to my learned and recently graduated colleagues, I at least know a smattering about each of these topics.  And, just as importantly, I know who to reach out to for more information and insight.

Networking has provided me with opportunities for learning, and for sharing my knowledge and experience with others.  Listening to others viewpoints has allowed me to see things from a broader perspective and learning best practices has helped save time, energy, and resources.  The exchange of ideas keeps me personally and professionally vital and relevant.

As essential as networking is, I believe it is as valuable to actively participate.  Know what’s going on in your chapter, volunteer, and help drive the direction of the organization.  By  getting involved and meeting with colleagues, not only have I benefited by raising my profile and (hopefully) credibility, but I have made new connections which have lead to new opportunities for collaboration, information-sharing, and even friendships.

As we begin the new year, I plan to venture outside of my comfort zone and expand my horizons.  I hope you’ll join me.

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