By: Christina Giovannelli Caputo, Youth Services Librarian, Arlington Heights Memorial Library
Fostering employee growth through mentorship accelerates learning and leads to success in the workplace. Whether in professional or private worlds, a feeling of support aids development when transferring to a new role. Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to have strong mentors. I am very privileged to have grown as a professional under their guidance and expertise.
Building relationships is an important aspect of a healthy work environment. Emily Loeffler and I met in 2017 when she was our Summer Reading Intern and again in 2018. As a new MLIS graduate, Emily came to our library as our Kids’ World Desk Intern. I was her Desk Internship Supervisor. Her Internship grew into a part-time paraprofessional role. We met bi-weekly (during the internship and paraprofessional role) and a strong mentor/mentee relationship developed. Emily shared her professional goals with me, to become a full-time Youth Services Librarian.
With this objective in the forefront, I worked with Emily to become interview-ready. We reworked her cover letter and prepared her resume. Additionally, we discussed interview techniques, which included identifying the mission and vision of the potential library, reviewing the job description with possible questions, and preparing strong examples of her prior success. We looked over her plans and techniques for storytimes and book talks which would be included in her role as a Youth Services Librarian. To improve the interview process, we reviewed potential interview questions. Once she was comfortable, we moved on to practice both one-on-one interviews and panel interviews. I invested in Emily and she in turn invested in our culture. Although a competitive pool of candidates interviewed, Emily has now secured a full-time position after a very successful interview. She is now the Youth Services Outreach Librarian here and my valued colleague!
Building collaborative skills through staff development and inter-professional teaching/learning, improves staff development. Skilled communication, true collaboration and meaningful recognition are skillsets that will cultivate a strong mentor/mentee relationship. Encouraging open and effective conversations between the two will optimize outcomes and inspires crucial teamwork.
- Listen to the needs of the Mentee
- Assist the Mentee in formatting goals and processes
- Advocate for the needs and goals of the Mentee
- Be available
- Invest in them
- Give open and honest feedback
“As an intern, there really was nothing more valuable than having someone that I could go to with all of the many questions I had. Christina’s complete willingness to discuss anything was a big factor in getting to where I am now. Any field can be competitive, but when it’s obvious that someone cares about you and your career, it can dull the sting of rejection and give you the confidence to keep trying.” Emily Loeffler