Last year, on a whim, I applied for the ALSC Mentoring program. When I applied, I knew in the back of my head that I was considering leaving public librarianship to work in a school. I wanted someone who knew how to transfer the skills from “public library world” to “school world”, while also still being committed to ALSC, ALA and librarianship.
I feel like all that was a really tall order, but ALSC was able to match me with someone who checked all those boxes. As a bonus, it turned out they were only an hour away from the area I wanted to be in. Something I hadn’t mentioned at all. My mentor, Carol Phillips, has an impressive resume when it comes to her work as a Librarian and with ALA. She somehow manages to do it all while still being an active member in her community and a doting Mom and Grandma.
Carol has been there every step of the way for me through my job transition, and continues to support me even though our program is formally over. In some of darkest days of burnout and questioning if this was truly the career for me, Carol talked me through it and encouraged me. She told me that it would get better- and it has. With Carol’s help and guidance, I have navigated job interviews and beginning to build a library where there once was none.
I know the call for participation in ALSC mentorship has come and gone, but I urge you to consider applying next year. In the interim, use ALSC-L to reach out and ask people things. One of the greatest things I learned through the mentorship program is that I truly was not alone. Carol had been there, done it, and felt the same way I did around many things. For that and all the other things she has done and I am certain will continue to guide me on, I am truly grateful.