Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Old wise man versus BFF

The fall is upon us! When did that happen? Somewhere between the earthquake and Hurricane Irene I suppose.  Classes have started and I find myself again getting ready to teach a whole new group of students about the library and proper research within academia.  I've got a bunch of projects that I'll hopefully get around to blogging about.  One of them involves some coworkers and I mentoring 4 students who have become part of a scholarship cohort down at the University of Maryland iSchool, who are focusing their MLS on Information and Diverse Populations.  We had our first meeting a few weeks ago, and from the group dynamic I can tell it's going to be a great cohort.  The camaraderie that I have with my two scholarship cohorts, Spectrum and ARL, has made librarianship a much more welcoming place.  However, despite my love for my groups, I never found a mentor through them.  Or at least, not a mentor that I imagined.

In my mind, a mentor was someone significantly older and wiser than me.  Someone who would offer me sage advice and help guide me through various stages of my career.  I have yet to find this magical guru, partially because I think my expectations are a bit over blown, but also because I have found that I enjoy peer mentoring much more.  Given that I am young in my field both in age and in experience, I am under no illusions that the mentoring role that I will play for this group will be peer based out of necessity.  No one likes being told what to do by someone who is recognized as younger and less experienced.  However, I have seen in almost every librarian I've worked with a willingness to recognize that learning and advice is something which goes in both directions.  I'm not sure how much advice I can give, but I am very willing to be a listening ear and some one to give constructive criticism for any variety of things, projects, papers, proposals and more.  And maybe years from now I'll be a little bit wiser.