The Internet has certainly been an information revolution; one that we could not imaging living without. We have more data, resources and opinions at our on-line finger tips than we ever had before. We have the opportunity to converse on-line, read books on-line, to job hunt on-line and to create and share content on-line. You can do everything you need to do right from your lap top or even your smart phone. Who needs to go the library anymore?
Why? Because they have more resources than you do. And because you need to get to know your local librarian. This particular civil servant may turn out to be one of your best networking resources for business/career growth.
When I started my business six years ago, multiple people advised me to book a consultation with Jennifer Keohane, the business outreach librarian of the Simsbury Public Library in Connecticut. I followed their direction and found myself sitting in front a most dynamic and savvy business professional. Jennifer was not what I had assumed a librarian would look like or act like. She was highly engaging, asked compelling questions, challenged me to think and do differently in my business. And yes, she turned me on to some terrific resources that were available for FREE right there in my library. Who would have thought?
Two million dollars in your wallet
At the beginning of this recession, Jennifer was asked to write an article for the newsletter, BusinessLine. The title of her article was as compelling as she was “The Two Million Dollars in Your Wallet.” If that doesn’t grab your attention, I don’t know what will. She was referring to the power of your library card – that piece of plastic you can use to check out books, DVDs, audio books, magazines and more.
Her article Two Million Dollars in Your Wallet_by Jennifer Keohane outlines some of the obvious benefits that you may be overlooking. As a card-carrying member of your local library, here are just some of your benefits:
- Try before you buy (or don’t buy at all). Stop buying all those books when you can borrow them and return them at no cost to you. If the book thrills you and you simply must have it in your collection, then you can buy it on-line or in-store. Picture the many books you probably have in your book shelf right now. How many have you really read? If you are like me, I have great intention to read the books I buy, but many go unread. Sad…and expensive!
- Free Training. Don’t let your skills get rusty when you can go to your local library and take a FREE seminar or workshop. Libraries are awesome resources for job hunters and professionals that need to modernize their knowledge and skill set (like how to use Linkedin for business). I have had the privilege of giving talks at my local library and others around my state on various business topics. Your library is a dynamic learning environment that eagerly awaits you.
- Business Leads. If you are trying to figure out what database list to buy to improve your prospecting and new business development, stop on by your local library to discover the many valuable databases they have waiting for you. You also have people there that can help you navigate these on-line databases. You don’t have to struggle by yourself.
- Expert Advice. Librarians are highly skilled information seekers. They immerse themselves with people, ideas and resources all day long. Wouldn’t you want them working on your team? (and you don’t have to pay their salaries!)
- New Connections. I have met more cool people at my local library than I can count. These new connections have led to new business referrals, new projects, more speaking engagements…and new friends! The environment at the library is relaxed and open – nothing threatening at your local library. Everyone is there to help you!
Your Networking Goal for this week
Get out of your office, get out of your work routine, and pay a visit to your local library. Ask to meet with the business outreach librarian or the director of the library. Introduce yourself and tell him/her a little bit about your current business or career challenge. Find out what resources and programs they have coming up that might help you solve that problem and reach your goals. Dust off your library card and start getting your share of the millions of dollars worth of benefits that are just waiting for you.