Connect, Create, Collaborate: Mentoring & the Future of Libraries

image of teachers learning tech by klbeasley on FlickrOver the past several months YALSA has sponsored and been a part of several activities focused on the future of libraries. These include the National Forum on Libraries and Teens and the Connected Learning month (MAY) all about the future of libraries. As I’ve participated in these events one thing has continually struck me as being at the heart of the future of successfully serving teens in libraries – physically, digitally, virtually – and that’s the importance of mentoring. This is mentoring of teens who take part in library initiatives and mentoring of colleagues who are learning how to be successful within new library models.

Consider these Twitter posts related to the topic of mentoring and the future of libraries:


What I keep coming back to as I think about these conversations, and working with teens in libraries, is how do library staff gain the skills necessary to be mentors and/or to connect teens to mentors in the community? It’s not necessarily easy to be a mentor. It’s also not easy to determine what one’s personal strengths are when it comes to mentoring and when perhaps someone else needs to be brought in because they have the skills that might be lacking. Add to that that teens, and library staff, need to trust those with whom they are working in order for a mentoring relationship to succeed.

There are a lot of components to it. And, I wonder, to repeat myself, how do library staff gain the skills necessary?

So, YALSAblog readers, I’m asking you. What’s your experience with relationship building and mentoring with teens and colleagues? What do you think are the skills required to be a good mentor? What opportunities do library staff, and library school students, need in order to gain mentoring skills? Add your thoughts, ideas, and experiences in the comments.

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