by Katie Kennedy ’18.
Have you been omitting the word ‘networking’ from your vocabulary, assuming it was something you’d never have to benefit from or worry about? A recent experience I had connecting with a Beloit alum has helped me to finally get what its all about. For more on her perspective on how to network with alum, look at Networking 101 with Laura Damon-Moore, ’08.
I don’t consider myself shy. I’m friendly, confident, and eager to make connections that will benefit me in any way. Having said that, I’m terrified of networking. I’ve attended LAPC networking events such as Public Service in Practice and Health in Practice, have met with coworkers at my internship and job as needed, but I’ve never before sought out a connection that I didn’t think I needed to have. I’ve had professors name-drop some of their friends in the library world (my intended career field) but I’ve never thought to ask about connecting with them until recently.
I was recently e-introduced by LAPC to Laura Damon Moore, ’08, an alum who works as a librarian at the Madison Public Library. Laura is well known for her blog Library as Incubator Project, in which she showcases brilliant ideas and beautiful displays from libraries around the country.
After we were introduced through email, she replied right away, introducing herself to me as a librarian with a passion for community outreach and engagement, which is something I’m interested in as well! I briefly introduced myself and we agreed to grab coffee in Madison later that week.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. As the week progressed and the time to our meeting neared, I woke up feeling guilty and even more nervous for the upcoming coffee date. I even had a nightmare in which I arrived to the library an hour late to be greeted by a frowning face and a tapping foot!
However, upon arriving (with plenty of time to spare) I was immediately glad I came! Laura approached me with a big smile and an outstretched hand. We decided to walk to State Street to grab some coffee and chat. While we were there, she answered questions I didn’t even know I had. Through the course of our conversation, I began planning research projects, developed a list of grad schools to check out, and created a list of bloggers and youtube videos to look into. Although our conversation was professional, it was very informal. I felt as though I could relax a little, knowing that she had probably been in my shoes a few years prior.
After coffee, we wrapped up our conversation and headed back to the library so she could give me a brief tour before she headed off to her next commitment. While we were there, I was fortunate enough to bump into yet another Beloit alum. He introduced himself as Michael Spelman, the supervising librarian . . . a man, in his own words, who makes a lot of hiring decisions. He gave me his elevator speech of advice, as he called it, and gave me his card to contact him with any further questions, which I definitely did.
Connections like these are everywhere! Be vocal about your questions and goals to the people around you in order to connect more with people whom you don’t yet know! If you’d like some extra assistance in finding these connections, feel free to contact the LAPC. We’re eager to show you how to find alum in your field, and who share your interests. There are so many, just like Laura, who are ready and willing to help!