I’m so excited to share the following guest post from a fellow CALLI cohort member, Amy Bland. Sadly, I was out of town for this year’s CALCON (don’t feel too sad for me; I was in Hawaii for a dear friend’s wedding!), and I missed the CALLI session on mentoring. Amy graciously agreed to blog about what happened for me, and here’s what she had to say:
Last Thursday, CALLI members met with potential mentors at the Council Tree Library in Fort Collins. The morning began with with an introduction to the mentoring process, led by Christine Kreger and Janine Reid. They presented the goals and objectives for the mentor/mentee relationship, as well as the characteristics and responsibilities of each party. In the context of CALLI, the mentor provides insight and direction, while the overall needs and goals are defined by the mentee. The mentee should also drive the communication, reaching out to his/her mentor every month or more frequently if a need arises.
After the introduction and ground rules, we heard from two sets of mentors/mentees from previous CALLI cohorts. Each pair described how they formed their unique relationship, how often they met, and what they discussed during their meetings. Both mentors emphasized that they learned a tremendous amount from their mentees, so the relationship is definitely bi-directional. Also, the bonds formed during the mentoring process can extend long after the cohort ends, and may evolve into a less formal relationship. Each mentor/mentee relationship is different, but the most successful ones include a personal connection, the ease to discuss anything, and a commitment to meeting on a regular basis.
When the mentor panel ended, we transitioned into the speed dating round (no joke!). Christine and Janine brought in several potential mentors—library directors, managers, and leaders—who braved six rounds of questioning from eager mentees. I applaud the willingness of these mentors to share their time and experience; I think it says a lot about this profession that there are so many who are willing to help and share.
Before wrapping up, Christine and Janine encouraged mentees to reach out to the mentors who could offer them professional guidance. The mentors didn’t need to be those who attended Thursday’s meeting, but they should be available to meet regularly throughout the year.
Since this meeting was on the first day of CALCON, we had the rest of the conference to observe (“stalk”) potential mentors. With so many amazing librarians in attendance, hopefully most CALLI members left with at least an idea of who they would like as a mentor. I know I did!
Amy is the Technical Services Librarian at BVSD, where she has worked since 2008. She holds an MLIS from DU, specializing in Resource Description and Access. Amy has presented at several state conferences, including CLiC, Google Apps for Education Summit, and most recently at CAL. She loves finding ways to support users with appropriate technology. Amy is also a Vulcan-to-human translator, serving on the communications team for her IT department. Please contact Amy at email@example.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @BVSDLibraries.