Thing 11: Mentoring

I was very fortunate right out of college to work for a man who literally took me under his wing and was my mentor as I crossed the great divide between school and full time employment. He showed me all the things school didn’t even begin to teach me about my chosen profession and motivated me to constantly want more from my work and showed me the path towards succeeding. He was a wonderful friend and a tremendous boss.

I have wondered since then what makes a good mentor. Why did this man continue to spend endless amounts of time helping me to master skills I needed to make a go in life? I think mentors do it for different reasons. Some want to simply give back. Some want to leave a lasting mark and use mentoring as a living legacy project. Some are at a point where they could use a fresh perspective, and an eager professional wanting to tackle the next phase of their life is just what they need to get back to their ideological roots. I think my friend and mentor did it for a little of all of these reasons. He passed away several years ago, and I miss him greatly.

I have worked for and around some very inspiring library leaders but have not really had a mentor in the true sense of the word. A coworker recently suggested that I put my name in the hat to be a library mentor for the Sunshine State Library Leadership Institute. I wrote a letter with my thoughts and an offer to help. I’ll see where that leads. I think it’s important for library professionals to give and receive. It’s an important piece of leadership and what will only make our profession stronger.

Thing 11 is one of 23 Things I am working on as part of the 23 Things for Professional Development program. It’s a fun and easy way to push yourself to think and apply topics specific to libraryland. Give it a shot yourself by visiting the website:


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