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Personal Connections FTW

February 3, 2012

Happy Friday, dear readers! It has been a long week, hasn’t it? I can hardly believe we are already in February and on my campus we are in the midst of midterm exams. Today, though, I don’t want to focus on exams or the fact that time is getting a bit to wibbly wobbly for my taste, but instead take a few moments to talk about personal connections and how they really are for the win.

We all know the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” And, I have to say, that for the most part this still holds true. But more than a trite saying, I think it’s the personal connections that we foster that make any of our work successful and our lives fulfilling.

For example, the last conference I attended was interesting to say the least. (Three people in the small cohort of which I was a part got horribly ill and we were all rather shocked by the lack of sidewalks around the hotel the conference was at which necessitated some interesting maneuvers to walk anywhere. But really, that’s neither here nor there.) What I really wanted to point out was that the personal connections I have with my cohortmates and the connections I made while at the conference were the best parts of the whole experience. I also found many of the sessions interesting and relevant which was awesome, but the time spent talking one-on-one is what really stood out for me at this conference as worthwhile.

Now I know that everyone seems to talk people’s ears off about networking, but I find networking difficult and awkward. However, doing research and keeping up with others and having something substantial to talk about it is easy and fun. It takes a while to build up a research agenda and relationships to make it to the point where “serendipitous” moments occur, but it is so rewarding when it happens.

Which brings me to the dreaded committee meetings. I think everyone knows my feelings about committee meetings–I love them when they are productive and get so frustrated and antsy when no progress occurs. As one of my wise colleagues said, “Little work actually happens in committee. Most of the work happens in the hallways before and after.”

So in committee work too, it’s the one-on-one, personal connections that get things done. For example, the last three years I’ve been working in the archives at my university (on top of all my work I was actually hired to do). Along with one part-time staff member, we’ve been processing collections, writing and managing grants, giving talks to classes, working with students on projects, planning digitization projects with the anthropology museum, and promoting the archives at every chance we get. And while we still don’t have the staff or the funding we need to have a full archives program, we are making more connections and more partnerships every day. (Soon the problem will be finding enough hours in the day to get it all done.)

Yesterday, after a committee meeting, this power of personal connections was brought home as we are now in beginning talks to work with the Biological Sciences Department through their natural history collection. It was a combination of meeting an awesome biology faculty member, having worked with the biological sciences department for the last 4 years, and trying to always connect with others that enabled talks of this new collaboration. Personal connections ftw! (Also hard work, lots and lots of hard work. There is no way around putting in the time that then allows one to build the credibility and body of work that reassures others that when you say you will do a project, you’ll actually come through.)

So those are just my few thoughts on personal connections for this Friday. To all my fellow librarians, archivists, and teachers out there, keep the faith in the work you do and the successes will come (even if they bring extra work with them). And, like my momma’s says, always be polite and help others because it helps you out, in the end.

On a techie note, I couldn’t help but share this article from Lifehacker:
stupid things you do online and how to fix them. I’m using this with my next information literacy class. Share it with anyone who needs a brush up on online security, behavior, etc..

Finally, let’s get you on your way to the weekend with Tolkien:

Tolkien from barrow blades via Beautiful Portals Tumblr

Tolkien from barrow blades via Beautiful Portals Tumblr

Have a wonderful weekend, full of tea and kittens with some good reads and eats, too. I’ll be back next Friday with some more thoughts on libraries, archives, and tech. Allons-y!

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