As a new librarian, I am always trying to connect with more experienced librarians so that I can learn from them and grow as a professional.
Several weeks ago I saw a posting on Facebook promoting the International Librarians Network, an online facilitated peer mentoring program that virtually connects librarians from around the world. Librarians are matched with participants in other countries in a four month formally supported partnership, allowing information professionals to network, connect and share information on a global scale.This year’s cycle includes 762 participants representing 78 countries!
Given my passion for mentoring, travel and intercultural communication, I applied in a heart beat. This week I was provided with the contact information for my international partner, a public librarian in Bulgaria! I must admit this is not a country I am very familiar with or know that much about, so I am very excited to learn more about public libraries in Bulgaria, and the ways in which they serve their communities.
The program seems very professional and supportive – to help build connections and stimulate conversations, participants are provided with different questions and discussion starters every week. I sent my answers to the first weekly questions off to my new partner, and I can’t wait to hear what she has to say.
Professional development is a critical part of any profession, and development can take many forms and be found in surprising places. Sometimes you just need to think outside the box!
— UPDATE —
I just got my first email from my international partner, and it was lovely! We have so much in common, despite the miles between us, and I’m excited to continue this unique mentoring program.