Mentor-Making

05/09/2013 § 3 Comments

In an effort to tap into my happy childhood memories of summer reading and perhaps to evade some adulthood stress, I’ve been re-reading Harry Potter. It’s been lovely comfort reading and a very welcome frame for some of my library-related thoughts. You see, I’ve been thinking a lot about mentorship. The power of a great mentor like Albus Dumbledore has had me thinking about how to seek out mentors and make the most of their advice and encouragement during library school. What do we look for in mentors? What lessons and inspiration can they provide? A mentor can be a powerful motivator and guide. But now, as I begin my second year of a two-year master’s program, I’m also thinking about mentoring from another direction: the peer leadership of Neville and Ginny, and of course Harry, Ron, and Hermione. How can we, as students and budding professionals, be effective mentors for each other? What does good peer mentorship look like and involve?

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Photo © Joy A. Feerrar

Peer mentorship is especially useful within the context of a master’s program. The relative brevity of library school means that we’re put in a position of being “in the know” pretty quickly; whether we feel it or not, we have lots of useful knowledge (advice on selecting classes, navigating work opportunities, directions to various campus locations, library policies) to share with fellow students. Furthermore, learning doesn’t just happen in one direction within mentorship—taking on mentoring roles gives us opportunities to reflect on values and goals, to hone interpersonal skills, and to think about professional and academic questions in new ways. Being a good mentor doesn’t mean having all the answers and providing perfect guidance (I mean, even Dumbledore made some big mistakes). I like the idea of a “let’s figure things out together” form of peer mentoring; it makes sense to me within the collaborative context of library school and librarianship.

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Student Leadership: Time to get on Board!

26/08/2013 § 4 Comments

The most important ship of all is leader-ship! (groan) (image from bestclipartblog.com)

The most important ship of all is leader-ship! (groan)
(image from bestclipartblog.com)

I’m a joiner. There, I said it. Being a part of one organization or another has been as natural as breathing for me since I was a kid.  So it was only fitting that I joined the Student Archivists at Maryland (our chapter of the Society of American Archivists) when I arrived at the University of Maryland iSchool.  It’s a quick way to meet like-minded people and dive quickly into a field that you’re going to spend a relatively short amount of time studying.  I was a little surprised at the low attendance at the meetings though- why should that be? « Read the rest of this entry »

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