Sarah Glassmeyer has some great advice for people in the profession who are looking for mentoring or considering being a mentor. I find that aside from more official ALA sorts of set-ups, there are a lot of opportunities to help people who are newer to the profession sort of get their sea legs and sometimes it’s incredibly useful to give/get a “reality check” about what is considered normal in the workplace. I know I’ve benefitted greatly from other more expereinced librarians and technology folks giving me their read on a situation and I like to think I can do the same for others.
Yesterday I got on the highway and went for a trip out to the Howe Library in Hanover New Hampshire. I took some photos. Mary White who was my gracious host when I spoke at Marlboro College a few years ago is now the director there. She had been in touch with a former Marlboro student who is now fresh out of library school and looking for work in the area — please hire Tyler (old blog, new blog, twitter), he is a smart, engaging involved person — and was having an informal chat with him and invited me out to see her library and meet Tyler. Apparently Tyler was partially inspired to his professional path by my talk/presence at Marlboro. Neat.
This is one of the things I think we don’t so much talk about in the blog-twitter-facebook world of librarianship — how important mentoring and personal connections are to getting, finding, and keeping work. Mary and I both had some identical pieces of advice for Tyler: join a professional association and try to go to the NHLA conference in May. I remember when I was first in library school and joining WLA and ALA, there were more experienced librarians who took me under their wing and sort of showed me how it was done.
The other thing I took away from my quickie visit was how much of what’s wonderful about the Howe — a library I’ve enjoyed going to since I first moved to the Upper Valley but haven’t been back to in a while — is the attention to detail that Mary and others bring to the place. Sure, the library has a great website that they hired a local company to create. There are TONS of signs in the library, many little nook-like places to sit, nice spaces for people to work in (tech services has windows), many interesting ways to say “thank you” to people for donating money or efforts, a year-round booksale and even a free hour of parking if you need to use the parking garage because the lot is full. Anyone in the area who wants to see a loved and loving library should wander down to the Howe and say hello to Mary.