Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Wise and trusted

Parents, school teachers, university lecturers, bosses - they are all people who teach us, are our leaders, our MENTORS, those who we look up to and try to follow their example.

My first mentor was my university teacher, the head of the department I studied and worked at, the supervisor of my MS and PhD thesis. Professor Franciszek Witczak had not just a deep professional knowledge but also all the moral and cultural values which I, and I believe my colleagues too, have learned from him - objectivity, accuracy, reliability, responsibility in all we do, both in private life and in professional activities. All of these qualities, I hope, will stay with me forever. Thank you Sir.

In my second and still developing career, librarianship, I have also been very lucky. From my present boss I have learned all I know so far about this profession (starting from one of the first lessons - putting books in line with a shelf edge, I would never have thought about it before!). I also admire her knowledge, enthusiasm, ability to look at things from different angles, seeing various aspects of problems.
I have started to think of taking my career in librarianship further (beyond a library assistant) thanks to two great ladies, whom I might call my informal mentors. The first of them is my present boss and the second - the leader of the City and Guilds training course in Library and Information Services, both have very much encouraged me to continue on this route, giving shiny examples of how interesting and fulfilling it can be.

After I had become a member of CILIP, the next step was to find a formal mentor. Finding someone who could help on the route to professional librarianship - this was a TASK. The list of mentors, published on the CILIP website, is not short but to find someone who one thinks one would get on well with and who is available when needed, has been, so far, impossible in my case. The first attempt unfortunately did not give any result. The second was equally negative. All mentors were "taken"!
Since then I have hanged my formal PD (professional development) on the hook and continued just working, working and working even harder, participating in as many training courses and local conferences as possible. Now it is time to find a mentor again. Before it's too late!

In the meantime I am continuously and gratefully learning from my boss, my informal mentor, who is not only a very professional librarian, but also a great teacher. Hopefully the skills and experience I have gained under her friendly wings will take me further along the professional route until (and also when) I find a formal mentor to continue the task.

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