Blogger Dan Bostrom

2015 ALSC Mentoring Program Interview

January is National Mentoring Month! Today, we’re once again excited to welcome two participants in the ALSC Mentoring Program to the blog. Erin Rogers and Robin Sofge interviewed each other as part of the program and agreed to share their interivew on the blog. Thanks Erin and Robin!

ALSC Mentoring Program participant Erin Rogers (photo courtesy of Erin Rogers)
ALSC Mentoring Program participant Erin Rogers (photo courtesy of Erin Rogers)
1. What have you been doing and how long have you been doing it?

Erin: I am the children’s librarian at the Gayton Branch of the Henrico County Public Library and have been for the last seven years. I have a passion for play, technology, and alternative picture book organization!

Robin: In December I was thrilled to be hired as a full-time Youth Services Librarian I at the Bull Run Regional Library in Manassas, Virginia. For over two years previously, I was a part-time Youth Services Librarian I at Beatley Central Library in Alexandria, Virginia. Some of my claim to fame at Beatley was starting a Lego Family Night program and a cupcake walk for the Fall Festival.

ALSC Mentoring Program participant Robin Sofge (photo courtesy of Robin Sofge)
ALSC Mentoring Program participant Robin Sofge (photo courtesy of Robin Sofge)
2. Why did you want to participate in the mentorship program?

Erin: I really wanted to participate because I have been so lucky to have great mentors over the years. Thanks Pat F., Shirley, and Tom! I also LOVE the enthusiasm of new librarians.

Robin: I love learning new things whether from an online class, webinar or another colleague. The virtual meetings and no cost to participate are major benefits in my book too.

3. Why did you join ALSC? Do you belong to any other divisions or roundtables?

Erin: I originally joined ALSC as a student to connect with my profession and recently rejoined for the same reason.

Robin: Ditto. I also have a mentor through the New Member Round Table Career Mentoring Program.

4. What do you think youth service librarians will be doing ten years from now?

Erin: I think youth service librarians will always have some form of storytimes, I would be really surprised if that went away. I think the transition to community center will continue to grow and we will see more playgroups and the like. Our job will be to make sure the library is a destination by providing play experiences, new technology with training, and most importantly a fun welcoming environment where all feel comfortable. I think our collections will get smaller to allow more space but I don’t believe the physical book is in any danger of extinction.

Robin: I believe youth service librarians will be even more valuable in ten years, especially those who can do creative programs on a shoestring budget. I believe librarianship is being transformed right now.

5. Would you rather offer a storytime to a large group of preschoolers or read one-on-one with a child?

Erin: Both can be amazing but if I had to choose I would go with a large group. I love the bustle and seeing the children interact with each other.

Robin: Go large group! I love the action of a big crowd. Some librarians disagree about the quality of programs with big groups. But as long as you’re following fire codes, the kids and adults are enjoying it and you are too, I say go for it.

6. What is one “rule” you wished every librarian followed?

Erin: I wish all librarians weeded. The things it can do for circulation and your patrons is amazing! Check out the CREW guidelines.

Robin: I wish every librarian was passionate about what they did. We can make a difference in our community and the world.

7. What do you like to do in your spare time?

Erin: Reading, especially science fiction and fantasy. Cuddling kitties, my dog who thinks he is a cat, and my partner Sean. I also perform with a belly dance troupe in Richmond and teach beginners classes.

Robin: I don’t have a lot of spare time these days. But one thing I’m super committed to is my book group that started a long time ago with Wally Lamb’s “She’s Come Undone.” One of the best parts has been the road trips that have run the gamut from a storytelling festival to the beach.

8. What have you gotten out of mentorship?

Erin: It has been fun to match up the skills I have with those that Robin wants to learn. Robin has so much enthusiasm for the profession and this program she has been a joy to work with.

Robin: Erin has been a fantastic mentor! The ALSC Mentorship has been a useful career development tool. Erin and I set three specific measurable goals. She was also very supportive when I had a job interview. We did a mock interview in advance. Erin encouraged me to be myself and let my strengths shine. Success, I landed the job! I love my new job!

9. Why did you become a librarian?

Erin: When I decided I didn’t want to teach any more, my first profession, I started scouring want ads to try to figure out what was next for me. One day I ran across an ad for a children’s librarian position and I knew immediately that was what I wanted to do. I moved to South Carolina and went back to school and here I am!

Robin: As a young child, we didn’t have a lot of money and my mom took us to the library all the time. Our neighborhood librarian loved kids. She would open the back door to the library and we would all pile in after school to watch a movie. My first career started as a newspaper reporter. But after my son was born at a mere 3 pounds 15 ounces, I stayed home and we celebrated life at the library. I eventually started as a part-time library aide. I was later hired to work in a new library. Fairfax County Public Library Managers Linda Schlekau and Cindy Hall believed in me and encouraged me to get my MLIS. That motivated me to go for it.

One comment

  1. Jessica from Canada

    Thank you for doing this mentorship project.
    I find that mentorship is so often overlooked in its importance. I wish I’d have a mentor in high school!

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