The importance of mentoring has been addressed often by Hack Library School contributors (here, here, and here). In an effort to learn more about how to obtain a mentor, I recently attended a Speed Mentoring Workshop presented by the Special Libraries Association (SLA) Maryland and D.C. chapters. What is speed mentoring, you ask? I had the same question.
Speed mentoring is based on the practice of speed dating but with less (or no) alcohol. Before the workshop, attendees filled out a brief survey on their career interests so workshop organizers could match them up with potential mentors in those fields. During the workshop each attendee (or mentoree?) got a chance to meet for five minutes with at least three potential mentors. Prior to the speed mentoring part of the workshop, there were also a few presentations about mentoring and an introduction of the mentors featured in the workshop.
This was the first time this group had hosted a speed mentoring workshop and there were some kinks. The mentors were located in three rooms on two different floors which caused logistical difficulties and although the time limit for each encounter was five minutes there was no enforcement mechanism and most meetings seemed to go over the allowed time. This caused back-ups and confusion as students waited around for their next mentor.
I did not find a mentor at this workshop but came away with a greater realization of the importance of the mentor/mentee relationship. I even have a potential mentor in mind and thanks to the workshop I have a better idea of how to engage with a mentor.
How about you? Have you ever tried speed mentoring? Would you set one up at your university?
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