We had a great discussion at the 2012 CHLA Conference during the special interest group hour. Eight people were in attendance and we had a wide variety of experience and opinions present.
Here’s a point form summary of some of the topics we discussed:
The current format of the Mentorship Interest Group
- The value of individual mentorship pairings, in terms of privacy of discussions, development of a more in depth relationship
- Some discomfort around posting on the blog, and the “stiffness” in writing style compared to an individual mentorship email or phone call
- Monthly topics give us a reason to connect, and a reminder to connect with each other
- Could we do both individual pairing and a pooled resource (community of practice-style) blog as well
Skills and experience
- Management training is a weak area in library school – many of us don’t feel prepared for the unique challenges of managing people at work, budgets, asking for money, preparing business cases, etc.
- Many of us at the table are about 7 years into our career, and wouldn’t consider ourselves “new” or “experienced”. We’re now comfortable in our professional skin, but many of us are asking ourselves “what’s next?”
- Skills we will need to develop and support for the future: collection evaluation, licensing, advocacy, how to write well (persuasively – lessons from journalism?), how to measure value, marketing (like teaching – your content is your message)
The future of medical libraries, the outlook for our professions
- A general worry that jobs are disappearing – we need to encourage succession planning through mentorship
- The work will remain, the drive will remain
- Advocacy for our professions needs to be strong and ongoing (branches staying open, getting more staff)
- Scope of practice and licensing issues for our professions: Charlotte hoping to bring this issue to the CHLA board
- Worry around pigeon-holing the job duties of librarian and library technician
- Under direction of a librarian? Increase of non-librarian managers and directors of library services
- Equity with other professions in hospitals
- Other un-regulated professions in healthcare such as Physician Assistants, and the tension this is causing
- Changing the name of “librarian” – how do other professions see us? CIHR title of “information specialist”
- Is AHIP worth it? Criteria for membership; not recognizing our existing professional activities
How can we better support each other?
- Inspiration from peers
- “Changing of the guard” is coming in medical libraries, as many are set to retire in the coming years
- Creating a living archive through mentorship
- Ecosystem of librarianship, where it doesn’t have to be old feeding the new necessarily
- Value of medical libraries needs to be studied, published, discussed
Please add your thoughts and help continue the discussion!