I participated in the ACRL/NY mentoring program from 2012-2013 when I was in the last year of my graduate studies in Library and Information Science with an interest in art libraries at Pratt Institute. I was paired with the accomplished Constantia Constantinou, library director of the SUNY Maritime Stephen B. Luce Library and SUNY Distinguished Librarian (the highest librarian ranking one can get at the State University of New York).
Constantia is an amazing mentor. When we met at her outstandingly beautiful library, we put together a plan for the year. I needed help with the job application process with the goal to get one after graduation in May 2013. After evaluating my resume and cover letter, she provided invaluable feedback. Constantia was honest when identifying my strengths and weaknesses and gave me advice on how to improve. In addition, she helped me prepare for interviews. Her knowledge and experience of the job hunting process and profession is not something one can learn in library school.
Throughout the year, Constantia and I communicated by phone and email just about every week. Since I was in my last year of school, she was there to give me guidance on potential positions and institutions to apply for and to. She even sent me jobs that she thought I was qualified for and would fit my interests. Also, Constantia was a great person to ask questions about the profession because she had considerable experience in it and special libraries, and to talk to about issues and trends in the field sent by the program coordinator of the mentoring program. This summer I am fulfilling my requirements for my Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Career Enhancement Program fellowship and Art Library Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) Wolfgang Freitag Internship Award that I won earlier this year. While I do not have a job yet, I am interviewing and hopefully will have something soon. Constantia has been incredibly supportive and has helped prepare me to enter the profession. I am extremely grateful for her support and advice and look forward to staying in touch with her for years to come.
The ACRL/NY Mentoring program is a rewarding experience. They do a great job with pairing mentors to mentees. It is most beneficial for young librarians to enter the program even if they are unsure of what path they wish to pursue in librarianship. Mentors can gauge what is happening in the field and assist mentees with helping to pick a direction. Dona��t miss out on the opportunity!
-Kai Alexis Smith, MSLIS 2013 graduate, Pratt Institute