Round-up for September 2013

A couple of days overdue on the September monthly review post, this round-up post has snuck into October instead.

The discussions sparked off by the series of posts about #mentoring have been great.

There’s plenty more discussions to be had to build on initial ideas – investigating the place of formal vs. informal mentoring, mentoring up & down, creating wider support networks for new grads, creating stronger support networks for first-time submitters for publication. It’s also sparked off ideas of how different approaches to mentoring might suit our diverse GLAM communities, and how we can make that happen.

I’m in the process of putting together my application to join up as a mentor for LIANZA’s formal mentoring programme – fingers crossed I will be accepted, and also that some new grads might actually want me as a mentor!

I’ve really enjoyed the conversations that these #mentoring discussions has sparked, & I’ve made new connections as a result. #win

Giving back to the profession in other ways #mentoring

We all lead busy & varied lives, and sometimes we feel like we just don’t have the time to be on a committee, be a mentor, run a workshop, take part in a MOOC, or even just fill in an online membership feedback survey, because it all seems too big, too hard, too much.

What if … we flip that thinking?

Instead of thinking I can’t participate in [insert task that seems overwhelming] at the moment because I am too busy/tired/fed up [insert adjective of choice], what about contributing in other ways instead? Think small & achievable contributions rather than bigger-than-Texas.

We all bring different strengths to the table – look at your peers, can you see the writers, the organisers, the workhorses, the dreamers, the leaders, the artists? Every one of them has something to offer to the library industry. Instead of relying on a small group of committed individuals who regularly step up to industry committees/project groups/conference organisation, we could share the load if we broke it down into more manageable sized “tasks”, we could play to people’s strengths and achieve something truly awesome as a profession.

The collective is stronger than the individual.

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Stepping up #mentors

What began as a post reflecting on my journey of finding a mentor has morphed into a different post altogether.

I’ve come to realise that I believe more strongly (than I originally thought) that the mentoring of new information professionals is vitally important for the GLAM sectors going forward, whether it is inside the structured framework of a workplace program or under the umbrella of a professional association).

Structured mentoring is about actively supporting & encouraging those who are stepping out in their sparkly new shoes into the professional world, and we owe it to new graduates to provide a support network & to welcome them into the exciting world of the various GLAM sectors that we work in. Leaving newbies to find their own way might work for some individuals, but I think that expecting total independence & self-assurance might actually increase the level of floundering and leave many feeling quite lost & isolated, and wondering why on earth they decided to get into the gallery/library/museum/archives sectors in the first place. Continue reading

Mentoring outside an organisational framework #mentors

There’s plenty of debate already about whether we say “the art of librarianship” or if we call it “library science”, and I am not really interested in actually debating it any further*, but this post is more a reflection on a long interesting conversation with a friend who is an artist. We talked at length about the differences of being inspired vs. being mentored in the context of individual art practice, and it clarified for me what the differences are between peer mentoring, Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) and teacher/learner mentoring.

Having a group of people who practice in the same field of art (e.g. photography, painting or sculpture), and who inspire & encourage you to develop your artistic practice is somewhat different to having a mentor in the same artistic field. While there is an overlap between the two groups, insomuch as having people in your world who truly believe in your art practice and who support & encourage you to develop your artistic practice, often the key focus of the teacher/learner mentoring relationship is the art practice of the person being mentored than of mutually developing each others’ art practices. Continue reading

Missing out the month of August

Well it has indeed been over a month since I wrote up a post for this blog. August disappeared into a blogging blackhole!

Despite all good intentions, August turned into a month where “life happened”. I had a busy month, finishing one job, accepting another job, moving from the South Island & back to the North Island, and all the associated things with setting up a new home (packing, unpacking, new utility accounts, mail redirection, insurance). As well as MOOCs, Heroes Mingle future project plotting with Sally, promotions for ILN, and just getting my head around actually leaving my life in Christchurch *again* .

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