I am alone in my little house in the Pocono Mountains. I come up here for as long as I can each summer to get away, to think, to write, to plan, to veg.
But "alone" is a funny word. I am more connected than ever before.
Take last night for instance. I attended the Women of the Web session on EdTechTalk. It focused on the wonderful doings of educators "down under." As I was being inspired by new Aussie contacts, as I was being mesmerized by their lovely accents, I kept up with Twitter friends all over the world, bumped around and visited the ISTE offices on Second Life’s EduIsland, joined the new EdubloggeWorldNing, and I mentored a new colleague at TeacherLibrarianNing. By 11 PM I was more than exhausted by all this communication.
In the past year and a half, my networks–official and unofficial–blossomed in ways I could never imagine.
What I find most striking is the shift in my professional connections.
I remember a time, not so long ago, when I despaired over not being able to bridge the gap among ALA’s divisions. I didn’t communicate with folks in those other divisions. I couldn’t attend sessions or learn what was going on across conference strands. My committee work tied me to either AASL or YALSA. And I had to make choices among library and education and technology conferences.
A year and a half ago my professional networking was perhaps 75 percent with fellow school librarians. That percentage has declined, not because I communicate with fewer of our species, but because my circle is so much bigger. My voice is bigger too. Way bigger. Yours can be too.
The fact is I now regularly communicate with fellow educators, researchers and academics, public and special librarians, edtech directors, administrators. I know what is going on in so many other worlds. These connections inform my own practice. These connections help others know what school librarians look like. (BTW, I was so happy to see a lovely core group of TLs at EdTechTalk last night. More than a year ago, when we tried to get a webcast going, I was the only one talking.)
Anyway, I got to thinking about what these networks look like, and the scope of their impact so I drew a little diagram.