Monday, 2 July 2012

Thing 7: What is the difference between 'networking' and 'chatting'?

I completed Thing 7 a few weeks ago, having attended a CILIP regional event in a nice pub on the river. I had a nice chat with some librarians from the public sphere, an ex-colleague and a fellow library assistant from another college. However, here lies the dilemma - does 'chatting' count as 'networking'? Librarians are funny creatures, and are often at opposing ends of the social sliding scale - either very stereotypical, mousey and quiet, or are completely barking booze-hounds who are the last to be thrown out of the pub come last orders. And end up sitting in the road, gossiping. If you're reading this, you know who you are. I shall not name and shame. Anyway, I digress. Is there some sort of measurement of 'networking' success? I only spoke to a few people, however I did get introduced to the group, and would probably recognise some of them again. In the right context. Does this count as Thing 7 completed?

Away from that single CILIP event, I attend other Cambridge events and talks for both University and College library staff, and the annual lib@cam conference. Again, my networking tends to be more informal, but from the conference this year I have been able to gain some work experience (see 'Thing 5), which is always worth doing. I also created a facebook group for Cambridge Library Assistants (tagline: "cos the librarians' have one", which they did at the time), but only managed to attract a couple of users, one of which was a confused student trying to recommend purchases. It was deleted in the latest fb upgrade. I was also a member of the Cambridge Library Group for a while, which so far, has been the most effective networking group I have participated in. I am not a member of CILIP, as I cannot afford it, even as a student. Obviously, this will have to change if I ever get to the chartership stage.

Having worked in libraries throughout Cambridge over the last 9 years, it is rare that I attend anything where I don't know a single person. This may hold me back, as gossip is just too tempting not to catch up on.

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing what you pick up on 'just chatting'. Often you will listen in to a conversation - and although the subject seems of little or passing interest at the time - proves to be very useful later.

    Of late I've set myself a challenge to spend at least part of the time at events not sitting with people I know. We might not have very long conversations, but I've found it's really helped me to widen my network of contacts.