Home » Academic libraries » Academic Librarian Mentoring Project : An ACRL-NY Initiative

Academic Librarian Mentoring Project : An ACRL-NY Initiative


The page showcases stories and articles written by participants in the Mentoring Program.

The Mentoring Experience by Kayla Shifrin

I’m halfway through the ACRL-NY Mentoring Program and so far I’ve found it very valuable, but not entirely for the reasons I expected. Recently I shadowed my mentor – Monica Berger of CUNY’S New York City College of Technology (City Tech) – as she staffed the reference desk on a busy Saturday afternoon. In the brief lulls between student questions, we spoke a great deal about the topics I expected to cover: the next career steps, what professional organizations to join, what to expect from an academic library career. But Monica also advised me on some more intangible subjects that were especially interesting because they weren’t part of my library school education.

Library school is all about discussing hypothetical situations that are frequently heightened or extreme. A knowledgeable scholar asks you a difficult reference question; you have to catalog a rare book that doesn’t appear in any standard bibliography; there’s a hurricane and you have to rescue the collection with the help of two interns and a bucket. Talking through these scenarios is excellent practice for real librarianship. But what’s left out are the average ‘daily grind’ sorts of experiences, and how real academic libraries may differ from the imaginary – and sometimes idealized – academic libraries used as classroom examples. Read more…

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