Mentoring advice please!

Hi All. I have just started mentoring a lady who is working in cataloging at a nearby PL. She is not a professional and has only minimal (like 1 conference) training under her belt. She's at a severe disadvantage because no one in her department is a professional at all. The only training they have received has been learned by doing (which is great but some of the things she's been asking are stuff that she should have been taught). Her library's focus is not on having a professional, degreed staff... which means that the catalog is a mess. She is working with a Sirsi system, which I have never used so I am zero help on that, and there seems to be no one at her library who knows the system at all. It seems like an impossible situation...

However, she is really bright and willing to learn. I just don't know where to start. She came and shadowed me for 2 days this week but I don't know how much she got out of it. She asked tons of questions, some of which I couldn't answer because I am not familiar with her system. Others I couldn't answer because they were local practice questions, and never having worked for her library I don't know the reasons why the policies exist. It's hard for me to be the leader here because I don't know where to begin or even what she wants to get out of this arrangement. I am debating just handing her a copy of Dr. Chan's Cataloging and Classification textbook. I'd hate to give up my copy but it's a worthy cause and I think it would help answer some philosophical questions. Anyone else have any ideas on what i can give her or where I can point for help? I can do basic cataloging with her, which is what she needs, but I don't really know what she wants.

Another problem that I have is that she's telling me about local practices that are totally incorrect. Like not following AACR2 incorrect... basic, basic rules that are being blown to the wind. My jaw nearly hit the floor when she told me that all reading list titles end up on 1 record per title, it doesn't matter about editions/abridgements/new introductions/etc... they are all living together. She told me it was for the ease of circulation, so that the patron can be assured of getting next copy returned. It's wacky.. oh, what stand-alone libraries can do inside their walls... wish we could get away with some of it here. Anyways, I guess I really need guidance on guiding this woman in the right direction. Anyone out there been a mentor before (not necessarily cataloging or library related) and will be willing to help me? TIA


Could you find a distance class for her? Sometimes a consortium will offer them. It sounds like she needs quite a bit of reorientation.

Good idea. One of the Childrens librarians at my branch is taking a refresher course in cataloging but I don't know where she's taking it. Perhaps, I should check that out.

I'd like to take one too, I had cataloging in school but I have never had to do cataloging at a job. I'd love to take a distance class to get a different perspective.

I'll be glad to pass on what I find. I didn't get a chance to find my friend on Friday but I will do so Tuesday after the holiday.

Happy Memorial Day!!

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