Paying-It-Forward Mentoring

I've had some fun conversations lately with colleagues about how important it is to support each other and connect librarians - new and old - to our networks.

Children's librarians in the public library world are a pretty collegial bunch, by and large. We like to share and play well together. Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Tumblr have joined PUBYAC and blogs as great ways to connect and pass information and fun ideas around as well as put our heads together to solve problems.

But I think we can all go a step further.  I'd like to see even more support for extending a hand towards our children's colleagues and helping them step up and into our networks and circles of influence.  It's easy to say "Look at me!";  "Look what I did!";  "Look what I invented!"  It's trickier to look around,  listen and say "Look what I discovered from a co-worker!"; "Look what I found from a colleague across the state!"; "Look what this smart and sassy librarian is doing in this small, rural library!" It's a matter of going from ME, ME, ME to HER, HIM, HER and even US, US, US.

Is there someone you know who you can encourage to share their great ideas through guest posting at the ALSC blog or on listservs or Twitter?  Is there an opportunity within your state for a newer librarian to serve on a panel, a committee, a board?  Can you partner with a colleague and encourage them to join you for a visit to a library; a Legislative Day, a conference or a system workshop that allows both of you lots of travel time to talk, hatch ideas and brainstorm? Can you float the name of a colleague to your networks as someone to tap as a speaker?

And once you do this, will you continue to support this colleague through mentoring, conversation, support, advice, a shoulder to lean on and cheerleading to let them know how valued they are and that you stand beside and behind them in their path?  We all can take responsibility, no matter what stage we are at in our careers, to bring our colleagues along and shine a light on their ideas for others. Let's help each other together!

Image: 'soccer practice' http://www.flickr.com/photos/73645804@N00/1384952210

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