Magazine article Information Today

Helping Others Succeed Can Help Your Library

Magazine article Information Today

Helping Others Succeed Can Help Your Library

Article excerpt

Helping Others Succeed Can Help Your Library Mentoring m the Library: Building for the Future Edited by Marta K. Lee Chicago: American Library Association, 2011 ISBN: 978-0-8389-3593-4 136 pages; $50, softcover

Did you learn everything you needed to know in library school? Probably not.

Thinking back on my library career, I remember several librarians who taught me quite a bit, from the necessary work-related skills to the less-tangible politics of the workplace. I have benefited from mentoring on a number of levels, even though it wasn't through any formal mentoring program. I have also been a mentor to others through formal and informal arrangements and as a supervisor. In this new book, Marta K. Lee describes the myriad forms that mentoring can take in a library setting and how we can use them for everyone's benefit.

Lee, who worked as a librarian at the Regent University Library and at the Washington Theological Union, has conducted research and has written articles on many library topics. She has also been a mentor on several different levels, from assisting in formal association-sponsored programs to working with employees and interns. While writing this book, Lee also researched other types of mentoring that colleagues from nonacademic libraries have used.

She begins this book with definitions including one for the word "mentor"; the synonyms she provides are guide, teacher, and advisor. "The term mentoring will be used to discuss how the supervisor, teacher, or manager benefits the trainee, student, or team member," she writes. The chapters that follow focus on different types of mentoring and how they can be applied in a library setting.

Getting Hands-On Experience

The first chapter describes internships, which are a standard part of the library school curriculum these days. They are a way for students to get real library experience as well as a way for libraries to help the profession grow while using the skills of current students. Lee emphasizes that the expectations of the intern and the library must be clear right from the start to get the most out of the internship. She presents a case study of an internship she supervised at the Regent University Library, including a description and schedule of the duties assigned. It turned out to be a rewarding experience both for the librarian and the intern.

The next few chapters are closely related; they describe other ways to work with library-school students and other potential librarians. Many students are required to visit libraries or to interview librarians for class assignments. Librarians may also interact with those who are considering joining the library profession and who want more information. In these situations, a working professional can provide different insights from those that a professor might provide. The mentor will also gain from these relationships. You can learn about the latest in library scholarship and technology from students, while refreshing your sense of possibilities and idealism, which may be a bit worn after years in the field.

Mentoring full-time librarians takes the process to a higher level. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.