[a] the research suggests that the majority of the jobs in our field are not posted but become known through networking;
[b] the research suggests that an emerging competence for leaders is their ability to develop their network, through special projects, temporary assignments and community involvement, among others.
There is a plethora of well-recommended books to help, from
How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships, by Leil Lowndes (McGraw-Hill, 2003),
to those that seem written especially for librarians:
The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, by Marti Olsen Laney (Workman, 2002) and
Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed and the Underconnected, by Devora Zack (Berrett-Koehler, 2010).
Of course you should
Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, The Only Networking Book You’ll Ever Need, by Harvey Mackey (Currency Books, 1999)
and if in doubt, get
Networking: All-in-One for Dummies, by Doug Lowe (For Dummies; 4th edition, 2010) or
The Networking Bible, by Barrie Sosinsky (Wiley, 2009).
Personally, I prefer
Work The Pond: Use the Power of Positive Networking to Leap Forward in Work and Life, by Darcy Rezac, Judy Thompson and Gayle Hallgren-Rezac (Prentice Hall, 2005), for its focus on the positive and its straightforward advice. The authors, whom I now know (through networking!) also walk the talk.
Here is the essence:
N–Never Leave Home Without Them (meaning business cards, the key transaction);
E–The Four Es: Establish eye contact, Extend your hand, Exchange business cards, Engage in conversation;
T–Travel in Pairs(it is just easier and more comfortable);
W–Working the Pond, Positively (it is all about what you can do for the other person, not about you);
O–Opportunity is Everywhere (believe it!);
R–Repeat, Repeat, Repeat;
K–Keep it Going (practice breeds comfort with success).