Mentors are very special people, and it has been my experience over the years that individuals who are mentored truly learn how wonderful the experience can be and in return reciprocate by continuing the circle of love.
However, mentoring is a two way street. If you want a mentor, whether official or unofficial mentor, consider asking. There are many people willing to be mentors, and they are quite flattered when you ask them to mentor them, but are afraid that the potential mentee who assume that the potential mentor asking a newer librarian if they want a mentor would be considered an insult.
Believe me, over the years as an active mentor for newer librarians and library science students you would not believe the number of times I have been told off by a newer librarian of library science student that my advice was unsolicited and not wanted. This has not changed me, and those who know me will attest to my firm belief in mentoring! I just want people to see that many great mentors have been burnt in the past and might have just given up.
PS NMRT did a wonderful professional development program on mentoring at ALA Midwinter in the 1990s. Dr. Norm Cohen who lives in Philadelphia did a no charge presentation for our group on the roles and responsibilities of mentors and mentees. He also talked about something he created called a mentoring readiness scale (yes some people just are not ready to be mentored and some people are not suited to be mentors). It was a wonderful presentation and he gave everyone a free copy of his book. I know, because I was the NMRT VP that year and set up the presentation.
Linda Marie Golian-Lui, EdD MLIS
Director / University Librarian
University of Hawaii at Hilo
posted on NMRT-L on January 8, 2003. Used with permission.