As the school year winds down, I find myself reflecting on how the year went (more on that later) and what to expect from the year to come. In my last post I mentioned that it’s never too late to say Thank You, and quite some time ago, Nancy Florio posted this on the AISL Blog:
Here was my response:
My first mentor was Elaine Warner at Friends Seminary, who took a not-quite-graduated library student under her wing and taught me what to do and how to be a librarian. She also encouraged me to apply for my job at Professional Children’s School, and has continued to be an inspiration. There were so many others, like Connie Corson, Barbara Lutz and others in HVLA, and also Debbie Abilock and Sara Kelly Johns at Knowledge Quest. I’m so grateful that many of those mentors are still available to bounce ideas off, to check my instincts and to remind me of what I want to be when I grow up!
But that’s only the library side. There were others, like my third boss at my first job (the off-Broadway theatre world has a lot of turnover), Vicky, who took me under her wing and taught me to lead and pay attention to details. She even included me in with her group of friends, on a 24-hour science fiction movie marathon at her apartment, and invited me to her US wedding reception; we’re still in touch and there are days when, dealing with my staff, I think “what would Vicky do”?
There were tech mentors through NYCIST, like George Orio and Don Buckley, who listened to the librarians point-of-view and weren’t above admitting they were wrong or might rethink things. There were unintentional mentors, like early colleagues who taught me how not to be a supervisor and how not to be a colleague. And there were my father, as well as teachers in high school and college, who “taught” me how to (and how not to) teach a class.
Mentoring doesn’t have to be active – it can be all one-sided, in fact. I know several of the ones I’ve listed above didn’t set out to mentor me, but by virtue of proximity and watching their example, they did the same job as the people who actively participated in the process.
Who mentored you? Have you said thank you yet?