Out of pure happenstance, I think, I have been hearing and learning a lot about networked data and information recently.
I attended the New England Archivist (NEA) conference this past weekend. I really enjoy remaining active in this organization, regardless of my job title. I also think it is important to continually expose myself to what people are doing in other, varied fields. I strongly believe that information professionals across the spectrum are much more similar than different. We can learn a lot from each other, often novel insights and ideas on issues we all face, if we just step outside the narrow definitions or the silos of specific titles/roles. I can almost always find something that is applicable to my work. Even if only some parts, or with innovation of my own, I can find unique ways of applying the pioneering projects of others.
Alternatively titled: A Librarian Can…give a little advice to library school students.
My piece of advice for today concerns the importance of making connections and impressions. Library school is tough, and not because of the course work. Yes, you have to learn skills, but more importantly, it is the time to learn what it means to be a librarian and navigate this new professional field. I may be fairly new to this field myself, but one of the things that I learned very quickly while in school and on the job was the importance of making connections (some say networking but that concept often makes people cringe). Basically, you have to hustle, put yourself out there, build relationships, and make good impressions. This is very difficult. I am not a very outgoing, socially engaging person. I find networking and small talk incredibly anxiety producing and exhausting, but I think it is essential to my success and longevity in this field. I may not know how or when, but every interaction could have a long-term impact. I strive to make every interaction as positive and productive as possible, because who knows what will be next. It can be difficult, but the more I practice, the stronger the skill becomes. We will all have missteps, especially working on something that does not come easy. In general, people who love what they do, love to talk about it and dole out advice to others (usually the next generation). Recently, I have had two experiences with library school students that have made me want to share.
It is women’s history month. In celebration the University recently held a lunch event entitled, Parenthood and Paycheck Inequality: How Social Policies and Cultural Values Matter. The speaker, Michelle Budig, PhD, showed how having a child negatively impacted the career and earnings of women, while often giving a boost to men (although not always). The motherhood “penalty” became even more pronounced when things like income, education level, marital status, etc. were taken into consideration. Different countries have wildly different policies and social norms surrounding maternal/paternal benefits. These differences were explored and shown to have dramatic effects on the amount of penalties or bonuses experienced by new parents.