Do you have an address book already? Is it paper or online? Whatever your preference, find it now and flip or scroll through it. Is it just a walk down Memory Lane, or does it include current contacts, friends and family members, coworkers, and people you’ve met at workshops and conferences?
Now that you’re in (or considering) library school, this is a great time to update your address book! Why? It’s a great way to keep up with people you meet during your library school career, as well as friends and family. The more details you can put into your address book, the better it can help you in the future. Think of it as a networking tool, as well as a memory bank for the people you meet and want to keep in touch with.
Address books have changed so much since I had my first pen pal in elementary school! The paper address books I’ve had over the years were filled with pages designated by a letter of the alphabet, with multiple spaces for names, home address, home phone, and sometimes birthday. Some of my address books I’ve owned were normal book size, while others were pocket-size. As a kid, I LOVED adding new names to my address book! I think it made me feel like a grown-up.
Today, I don’t own a paper address book . Well, more accurately, I don’t know where it is! (It would probably be a nice walk down Memory Lane to find it!) But I do keep an online address book, and updating it has been one of my pet projects since finishing my last class of the semester on Tuesday night.
I just mentioned “online address book,” like I just have one of them. Truth be told, I’ve had several web-based email addresses since the late 1990s, and the online address book associated with each email address (Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, Excite) has collected a number of email addresses for nearly 15 years. So I’ve decided to appoint the online address book associated with my Gmail account as my main address book, and have been transferring (manually) all the current contact information I have into my Gmail address book. I’m also deleting contact information that I don’t need anymore, like email addresses only (where I don’t remember the person’s name), insurance agents or doctors I don’t use anymore, work email addresses of friends who have changed jobs, things like that. In some cases, I had several entries for the same person-work, home, school, etc. I used the merge feature for some, and the delete button for others.
On the fun side of address book updating, I’m also adding the contact information of some of my current classmates, as well as librarians I’ve met at workshops and exchanged business cards with. One of the things I like about the Gmail address book is that it has spaces for job title and company, as well as boxes for multiple phone numbers, work/home email addresses, instant messaging handles, and personal/professional URLs. Like paper address books, it has a place for birthdays (as well as anniversaries), and Facebook has been a fun resource for finding many of my contacts’ birthdays! Icing on the cake is that the birthdays you put into the Gmail address book show up on Google Calendar, to boot. Since I love my Google Calendar, this is a big plus!
Speaking of Facebook, I have the social networking site to thank for helping me get back in touch with old friends from high school, college, and former jobs! It’s been easy to add contact information from Facebook into the Gmail address book for them as well.
Last night, I spotted my cell phone nearby, and wondered if all of my cell phone numbers were backed up online. I opened up my flip phone and found a couple of numbers near the top that weren’t in my online address book. Glad I checked! I need to keep working on that. (Has anyone else lost ALL the numbers in their cell phone when it died for good or got lost?)
I’m still not done updating my online address book, but I’ve made pretty good headway this week, and it feels good. One of my goals is to be in continual need to update it because I continue to meet new people, both within the library profession and beyond!