Friday, September 08, 2006

Finding a Mentor

First stop, the CILIP Chartership webpages. Working as a sole professional (has always been the case for me), I really needed some help finding a mentor for this process. Fortunately, CILIP provide a list of mentors (by region) and an indication of their mentoring workload.

When I first consulted this list (back when I had originally registered), it wasn't really a helpful list. It contained name, email address and current mentoring workload. Not much there to use when selecting a mentor. My solution? I complained. I'm not proud but I was frustrated. Since then, the page has been amended to provide additional information regarding the mentors' organisations and job titles. Much better.

So how did I choose one? Well, I started by looking at the company names. I wanted someone who worked in a similar organisation under similar circumstances (i.e. not traditional library setting). Then, I used the job titles to identify someone who was not doing a traditional librarian's job. I know that job titles mean very little and that in the great scheme of things that it shouldn't really matter but... Basically, I just didn't think that I would really have much in common when it came to professional difficulties, experiences and ambitions with the "Librarian" at "Some Council Public Library".

So, having identified a few names that looked suitable, I started down the list. The first couple of emails bounced back! This was a little frustrating but I pressed on. I tried another person who already had one mentee on the go (and capacity for two more) only to be told (very politely I should add) that she already had a full case load. Hmmm... this webpage wasn't looking too up to date. My solution? I complained - again (I'm sure CILIP's Qualifications team are building a file on me). I suggested that the site ought to be updated and requested that I be sent an updated list in the meantime. Quite what my rush was after letting it sit for the better part of two years, I don't know; I guess it was just that I finally had momentum and didn't want to risk losing it!

CILIP replied promptly and I went through my selection process again and tried another name. This time the email not only worked, but the individual didn't have a full case load. Hurrah!

We agreed to meet to discuss the mentoring aspect of the Chartership process and to see whether we could work together (code for "see if we can get along").

So, with a mentor lined up (albeit provisionally), I was feeling a little more on top of things...time to set the first meeting.

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