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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Winter 2001

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Conference Reports

Heads of Science & Technology Libraries Discussion Group
ALA Midwinter, January 14, 2001

Laura Lane
Temple University
lane@astro.ocis.temple.edu

Don Frank
Portland State University
Frankd@pdx.edu

Discussion continued on STS's emphasis on mentoring. Speakers were Melissa Cast, organizer of ACRL's new mentoring program, and Don Frank, a mentor in the sci-tech library profession.

Melissa, Director of Membership Services at ACRL, spoke about her involvement in ACRL's recent establishment of a mentoring program. (See {http://www.ala.org/acrl/mentoringprogram.html} for links to the Mentoring Program Workbook and applications for mentors and mentees.) About 20 new librarians have been connected with senior librarians who are providing help negotiating various parts of their positions. Melissa acted as match maker between mentees and mentors and then stepped back to let the parties develop their relationship. Most, if not all of these have been conducted via e-mail or phone and have been very satisfying to both people.

Don Frank, currently Associate Director of Portland State University Library, spoke about his experiences as a mentor and such relationships can help to guide new librarians making decisions about involvement with appropriate associations, getting appointed to committees, and effectively navigating events at annual conferences. He noted that a successful mentor focuses on the mentee rather than on the mentee's activities, and that good rapport is based on mutual trust. Mentors help mentees become effective time managers and maneuver astutely within the political structures of their organizations. Both Melissa and Don emphasized that the time commitment for mentoring varies with individual situations but is not onerous. People attending this discussion commented on the importance of having a more experienced librarian give tips on how and when to submit articles for publication.

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