‘We Are So Passionate about Networking’

What became a research paper about networking that was presented at the SLA 2015 Annual Conference by two librarians who had never met each other began as a back-and-forth diatribe on Twitter against two words.


It wasn’t just any paper, mind you—it was judged the best contributed paper at SLA 2015, earning its authors free registration for SLA 2016. But the two words—well, they aren’t words the average person would get riled up about.

“I think what prompted us to write the paper was that Leslie [Hicks] and I share a disdain for the labels introvert and extrovert,” said Tracy Maleeff in an interview published in Information Outlook. “We kept chiming in on each other’s tweets, and we would both get annoyed when people would say ‘introvert’ or ‘extrovert.’ And I think it was Leslie who threw the idea out to me—hey, we keep going back and forth over Twitter, why don’t we channel our anger about introvert and extrovert into something positive, like writing a paper.”

Working from opposite coasts—Tracy is a law librarian in Philadelphia, while Leslie works for an athletic apparel company in Oregon—the two coalesced around the topic of networking and specifically its role in professional development. Although networking is often considered a “soft skill,” Tracy and Leslie found numerous articles about it in academic journals and business publications.

“I know a lot of people consider networking to be a sort of soft skill, one that’s not as important as other things like tech skills,” Leslie told Information Outlook. “So to be able to back up our arguments with actual academic sources was really interesting to me.”

To read the interview with Tracy and Leslie, click here. To read their paper, click here.

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