I wanted to leave this post until after I had returned from SLA Chicago, as I would come back with some experience of having a formal mentor, giving me something on which to reflect for this.
As part of my Early Career Conference Award (ECCA), I was assigned a SLA Europe mentor, who could give tips and advice about preparing for the conference. My mentor was great in the run up to the conference. She very kindly arranged for me to
snoop around visit her workplace and learn a little about what she does, and visit some other SLA Europe members, which was a great glimpse into special libraries.
I found having a mentor was a really nice touch to the ECCA. It was comforting to know there was someone just an email away if I was having a panic about what sessions to attend, or what I should bring.
In terms of other mentors, formal or informal, I’ve not had much experience. I’ve had managers who have been really supportive of my professional development, but I haven’t really experienced that specific relationship a mentor and mentee has.
It is something I plan on exploring in the future, however. Not least because it is required for Chartership, but also to support my own professional development.
Just reaching out to people in the profession and getting their advice can count as mentoring, and this is something I think we can all see ourselves doing, whether we think of it as mentoring/being mentored or not.