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CPD23 Thing 11: Mentoring

I’ve had 4 “official” mentors: the two mentors I was assigned when I attended the SLA conference in 2009 on the SLA Europe Early Career Conference Award; and the two chartership mentors I’ve had – one in London when I first registered for chartership, and one I’ve just met in Leeds having moved here and decided to restart chartership.

For SLA 2009, I had one mentor from SLA Europe, and one from the Leadership and Management division (my co-sponsoring division). I haven’t really had much contact with my LMD mentor since – she was great while I was at the conference, and we did keep in touch for a short time afterwards, but we’ve lost touch since which is rather a shame really. It is difficult to keep up a mentoring relationship with someone in another country though (she’s Canadian). I’ve had much more contact with my SLA Europe mentor, and we now co-chair the SLA Europe web committee together.

Because I started and then quickly abandoned my chartership attempt while in London, I think I only met my mentor there once or twice. She was lovely though, and I was a bit worried about finding another mentor that I’d get along with as well once I’d moved away. I’m glad to say though that the new mentor I’ve found in Leeds is every bit as ace, and although we’ve only met once so far and I’ve really only just started with everything, I’m already finding her an invaluable source of advice.

That’s it for official mentors – I have had many “unofficial” mentors in my time too. There have been several people I’ve known in both professional and personal capacity that I would consider mentors, whether they are aware of it or not! Some have been managers – my bosses in my first few library jobs spring to mind in particular – and some have been people I’ve known and/or worked with in other capacities. I think most people probably have people like that in their lives, whether you use the word “mentor” to describe them or not. I almost think that’s more valuable than having an “official” mentor really – without having to formalise your relationship, you can still have people in your life that you look up to, learn from, and ask yourself “what would x do” if you’re ever stuck.

In future, I would like to mentor others – I’ve learned so much from others in the profession, I’d really like to be able to pass that on. I think once I’ve chartered I might look into being a candidate support officer, and eventually be a chartership mentor myself.

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