Thing 11 – Mentoring

I currently work in an environment where my two bosses have vastly different opinions on things. And while one is technically the library director, the other is officially at the same level within the office and doesn’t report to our director. So I spend a great portion of time stuck between my feuding superiors trying to suss out what to do and who to follow. Most of the time I follow my gut and hope for the best.

In my library world, I don’t have a mentor. I WISH I had a mentor, but I don’t. A mentor would be incredibly helpful in my current position. However, I tend to be the mentor for others. I take inspiration from others not in the library world, but amongst my peers, I seem to be the one who steps up and leads.

I’ve encouraged several of my friends to attend library school (I’m not sure if this is a good thing or bad thing, really). So I am who they turn to when asking questions about classes or job market or financial aid. I seem to be the guinea pig. I try it out first and then report back.

One of the better places I’ve read about mentoring is Sarah Glassmeyer from last year. The two most poignant things I took away from it is: OWN YOUR SHIT. and FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT. I feel like that’s the only way I get by some days. But it’s taken me a really long time to own my stuff. I guess that happens to a lot of newbie librarians, but I feel like I’m hitting my stride lately.

I also like that she notes that mentors don’t necessarily have to be older people. Rather, there’s a ton to be learned from people the same age as you but with perhaps a little more experience than you in one area or another. I definitely have more of this type of mentorship only I never really considered it a mentor, really. I tend to just call them friends.

At my last library job, I had two librarians who I really bonded with. I have since moved on, but we’ve maintained a friendship during that time. I think that should I have a need to seek advice about something library related, they would be at the ready to supply me with answers. But mostly we nerd out about music and miniature ponies.

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About indie librarian

a recently MLS librarian's observations
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