Little known, but trufax: Israel is a resource-poor country. We don’t have oil. We don’t have much water. We even have to import our reality TV shows.
What we do have in abundance is protekzia. No, not the recombinant version of human butyrylcholinesterase. Not the cuspated drainage systems. I mean Vitamin P, networking to the extreme, Jewish Geography, cronyism, nepotism, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” It’s the national sport.
A few real life examples:
1. My daughter-in-law’s sister got married last month. My son was in an Officer’s Training Course, the kind where they might give you a day off for a funeral — if you ask nicely and bring a death certificate. And if the death certificate is your own and you swear to be back in uniform at 0 dark 30 the next morning. But my son’s mother-in-law wanted Sonny Boy to attend the wedding. She called around, found a relative who had been Sonny’s commanding officer’s commanding officer (back in the day) and got Sonny a night off.
2. Before Sonny Boy and DIL were married, DIL’s mother wanted a certain woman to give DIL her mandatory pre-marital religion classes, but the woman was fully booked. Turns out the woman’s husband is my kissing cousin, and though we had never met before or knew of each other’s existence. I called in Family Chips and DIL got her lessons.
So you’d think Israel would be all up in real life networks, wouldn’t you?
Ha. There are only a few Israeli LIS organizations.
The big one should be ASMI, the Israeli Association of Libraries and Information Centers. If you visited that site, I apologize. It’s a hot mess (posts from 2008 sandich posts from 2009 and from this year). You’d think LIS professionals would know better. They do offer one year free membership to LIS students, but the only value the organization adds, aside from publicizing other organizations’ events, is their job board. Since I’m not currently looking for a job and most of the posts are public anyway, I’ll hold off on joining until I am or the last year of library school, whichever comes first.
There’s also ICL, the Israeli Center for Libraries. Most of its training is most relevant to working public, academic, and school librarians. They host a relatively expensive yearly conference, with no student discounts.
The one real-life network I am involved with is IFISH, the Israeli Forum for Information Specialists in Hitech. Like the Israeli network websites, the website is hopelessly out of date. Membership is free, the email list is very active and very helpful, and there are a few free meetings each year featuring new technologies and services for information professionals. It was due to protexia that I joined IFISH: I went to network with one librarian who happened to be heading to an IFISH meeting that afternoon. She offered to take me with her. I hung around her library all day. (Yay for telecommuting to my day job. On the internet no one knows you’re not in your office.) I tried to register for IFISH online before the meeting, but the webform wasn’t working. No problem — the 2 founders were my lecturers in Business Information and I had their email addresses. Zipped an email over to one of them, got a confirmation, and I was in. Next year I hope to be more active, if there are any volunteer opportunities in the network.
So where does that leave an Israeli LIS professional who wants to network? On line, of course.
On line, and alone.
There aren’t very many Israeli librarians in the online networks. As far as I can tell, I’m the only Israeli on LISNPN. There are a few other Israeli librarians in my Twitter stream, but they don’t network with each other, much less the outside world. I’m friends with a few on Facebook, but those are ones who are friends in real life, not just online, so I’m not sure they count; most of the time I didn’t know they were librarians when I friended them. I am making an effort to keep my Google+ more professional than personal, but it’s still a very quiet place.
Another place I’m beginning to network is over at Mendeley, where I’m a member of several groups which match my LIS interests. I may have to pull out of the site soon, though, once they decide on their policy about the Middle East peace talks. (Yes, I know. A research management tool shouldn’t really be defining political views, but if they allow one side in a territorial dispute the right to claim certain cities in the disputed area and don’t allow the other side to claim other cities as a policy decision, well…. It’s been nearly two weeks since I asked for the right to list either my hometown or the town in which I’m a library volunteer and I’ve been told they need to have a board meeting about it. If I want to claim the nearest Arab city as my hometown, though, it’s ready and waiting for me.)
LinkedIn lives almost entirely separate from my LIS persona. I don’t find the connections or the CV capacities very helpful, but the groups are amazing, particularly in the area in which the corporation I’m currently doing information work for is involved. Where else would I be, within a week, on a chatting basis with the CEOs of potential partner firms?
And now a note for Israeli LIS professionals.
תשתתפו איתי בעולם הווב 2. אני מבטיחה שזה לא עולם גדול ומפחיד. שיטת חבר מביא חבר עובד נהדר ברשתות החברתיות. תשאלו מי שניסה!