How Weak Ties Can Strengthen Librarians

With library and information budgets continually being squeezed and new tools being developed to find and share information, librarians and information professionals need all the friends they can get. The proliferation of networking tools—many developed for use outside the workplace, but a growing number being created for use inside it—is making it easier than ever for special librarians to reach out and make connections, even to people they may never physically meet.

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“Today’s social networking tools have allowed us to exceed the 150 or so people British anthropologist Robin Dunbar posited as the maximum number of people with whom we can maintain social relationships,” writes Frank Gullo in the March-April 2016 issue of Information Outlook. “We are literally amassing hundreds and even thousands of weak links in our networks—so many, in fact, that we can subcategorize weak links.”

These “weak links,” Gullo says, pack more punch than their name suggests. Research has shown they can be effective in assisting with, for example, job hunting and promoting causes. And in the workplace, they can do even more—at least for librarians who make an effort to nurture their weak connections.

“At work, weak links are even more valuable given the many other ways a weak connection can assist you in that setting,” Gullo writes. “Since many employees today are being asked to do more with less and work effectively with staff in other departments and countries, relationships that can be called upon when needed are key resources. Weak links at work can provide valuable information when needed, lend support to a project, be called upon for testing or review, give impartial feedback about a person or situation, make an introduction, and much more.”

To learn more about how weak connections can strengthen special librarians, read the article.

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