Mentoring: The road to professional development and success

By Stephanie Gross

My perspective on professional development is that one can almost never get too much. Successful professionals understand that achieving a college diploma is only the beginning of one’s career. I have been involved with mentoring for the past six years through both local and national library groups and one of the main goals I hope to achieve through mentoring is that my mentee develop an increased appreciation of career development and continuing education in the library field.  Oftentimes I’ve found that this has been a rather hard sell. People wonder “How will I make the time?” “How will I afford the tuition?” I explain that it is an investment that almost always bears fruit. For example, one mentee took on added training in the summer and won both a challenge grant and a promotion at her current place of work.

This year’s conference focuses on social media and self-marketing with expert presenters.  For those librarians and information professionals who have been in the field for many years, these two topics are somewhat foreign if not intimidating.  However, even for younger people, social media and self-marketing for professional purposes is quite different than the casual use of those tools for personal use (for example, dating and online purchases). I have not decided on which sessions I will be attending, but “Getting a Certificate” seems to be a popular question that many of us are asking at present.  As I prepare for retirement and a possible transition to consultant work, I hope to leave the day with a better sense of my preparedness as well as a list of options to investigate. Beyond that, I hope to meet like-minded professionals with whom I can exchange information and advice. I am scheduled to participate in the “Speed Mentoring” session, and look forward to sharing some pearls of wisdom with library students and recent graduates that will enable them to proceed in this important field of employment with success.