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Page history last edited by Starr Hoffman 9 years, 4 months ago

Networking & Getting Involved in a Professional Organization

given at: UNT Libraries Career Development Group meeting, 06.09.11


final slideshow: NetworkingProfessionalInvolvement_20110609_FINAL.pptx


finding your niche

  • look at variety of options:
    • ALA? ALA Division? ALA Round Table? Committee within those? non-ALA? non-library (related academic field)?
  • consider the size of the organization/conference, # of meetings/year, value of publications/communications online/print
  • lookup list-servs to which people in your specialty subscribe
  • what are your goals? what do you want to learn? what do you have to share?
  • my orgs: ALA (cut back GODORT/LITA, just joined ACRL), TLA (now limited), ASHE (reviewer, presenter)


niche vs. broad groups: what can you get out of each?

  • ASHE & ALA GODORT have been my most "useful" niche organizations
  • at a conference, you'll meet more people if it's smaller
  • may have more opportunities to contribute (review conference proposals, etc.) 


how to "break into" a group

  • groups are usually struggling to find interested committee members to help get their work done! the secret is finding out who to ask about these opportunities, and matching them to your existing skills/interests, or to some that you'd like to develop
  • find their directory online
  • (if there isn't a directory, contact the group's secretary and ask for this info)
  • look for a group along the lines of: nominating committee, committee on committees, etc.
  • email the chair/head of that group and let them know you'd like to help out 
  •  list any specific skills or knowledge you have that could be helpful, for instance: 
    • specific knowledge from your job,
    • technological skills (social media, web development, programming),
    • or organization-related skills like journal editing, newsletter production, photography, etc.
    • for example, I interviewed for and was appointed as ALA GODORT's Web Administrator from 2007-2010 (automatically becoming involved in three committees for three years, one of which I chaired, as well as an officer of the round table) because while I wasn't very experience in govdocs at the time, I had a lot of technological experience, which was a big need in that group
  • if there isn't a nominating group listed, contact the Secretary or Chair and ask how you can volunteer/get nominated/be appointed to a committee or other position in the group
  • are you presenting a paper or poster at a conference? get a business card from each person that talks to you or that asks a question (if possible). try to make brief notes about their feedback, both to improve your paper and to thank them later for their contribution and/or request clarification or additional feedback.
  • attending a relevant presentation? try to ask a question and/or talk to the presenter in-person afterward. exchange business cards and specifically mention constructive feedback, questions, or similar projects you're working on. don't force this, but think of ways in which your interests or research intersect.


making contacts & keeping in touch between conferences

  • keeping in touch:
    • twitter,
    • email/refer questions,
    • ask for advice,
    • keep that business card handy & make notes on it about that person, their specialty, etc. Example: "Met at ALA 2010; likes baseball; catalogs science materials for TWU; email her that article about RDA"
    • have one spot where you keep these cards. if you tend to lose them, take a photo with your phone.
  • bring a stack of your business cards to every meeting/conference. carry a small stack with you at all times, (at least 5 in your wallet; i carry about 10 in my purse)
  • email authors who write about topics in which you're interested--they are usually glad to hear from interested scholars/readers! 


finding virtual opportunities

  • remotely review conference paper proposals (ASHE)
  • ALA Connect (virtual committees)
  • follow live tweets/blogs from conferences/meetings you can't attend (ALA, DLC)
  • if you can't find these opportunities, again: email someone (if in doubt, the Secretary)


how can you give back to your communities/contacts?

with organizations/communities:

  • do you like to organize? arrange events? create & administer surveys? assign people to committees? wordsmith documents? contact event speakers? update governance documents? review books, articles, or academic papers? design websites? explore new technologies? create bibliographies? take photographs?
  • what skills do you have that you're not currently using in your daily tasks, that you'd like to use more?
  • what experience,knowledge, or unique perspective do you have to share?
  • what changes would you (and/or others) like to see in the organization? how can you contribute to that?

with individuals:

  • remember those business card notes about research interests/etc.? use them.
    • email links to articles on topics they'd be interested in
    • forward CFPs, events, anything that makes you think, "hey, this person would be interested in that!"
  • form a "learning community" -- that's a lunch, once a week, with someone to brainstorm research, etc. with colleagues locally (UNT, TWU), or Skype/phone them
    • don't have anyone to start a learning community with? here are places to ask:  email specific people (the worst they can say is "no"), post to a list-serv, tweet about it, Facebook/blog for participants, take a class in your field and ask classmates,  


branding yourself & establishing an online presence

when you meet new people, convey the essence of you, professionally & personally:

  • what do you want people to remember about you?
  • what's the most notable thing about your current position? how could that help or interest people?
  • what aspects of your personal life might be relevant or memorable?

branding doesn't need to be formal, and shouldn't be artificial

  • if it doesn't feel "right" to you, that's probably pushing it 

you're not required to keep up with 5 million social networking apps

  • find what works for you, and use that
  • it's great to contribute content back (twitter, blog posts, flickr, etc.)
  • ...but if it's too much, don't sweat it! you can learn a lot and meet many people simply by looking at and reading their content online.


  • great way to let people look up information about you back at their hotel, or once they're home
  • several options: aboutme, wordpress, wiki, UNT Faculty Profile, etc.  http://mashable.com/2011/06/07/one-page-sites-design/ 
  • this can be a hub for your entire online presence
  • ...or it can simply list info copy/pasted from your CV
  • include this link at the end of your email, under your name/institution





http://www.interleaves.org/~rteeter/libnetwork.html#assns (subject-specific associations)




http://telecom.inescporto.pt/~rcampos/PhDNetworking.pdf  (Networking on the Network: A Guide to Professional Skills for PhD Students; Phil Agre)

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