A Mentor – Who, Me?

Eva —  June 1, 2016 — 2 Comments

A library director who welcomed me to the profession and always seemed glad to see me, to lend me an ear, to give me a pep talk, died recently. We hadn’t spoken in a while, but I will always remember her kindness to me. When I lamented “I’m losing all of my mentors!” at the funeral, a fellow director responded, “That means it’s time for you to take their place.”

I have to admit that she has a point. It’s energizing to see all of the fresh ideas and enthusiasm from the new leaders I’m meeting, but to be honest, I’m struggling with seeing myself as a mentor to them. Being helpful is part of what makes me a librarian, so I’m comfortable answering their questions, but the notion that my specific experiences are generalizable to others is odd to me. I wear this particular hat in an unsteady fashion, with caveats–Your Mileage May Vary; In My Opinion; As Far As I Know–to make sure people know that I’m not An Expert, that I’m fumbling my way through all of this, too.

As I think about my mentors, I see that they fumbled, too, and they didn’t let that get them down. They shared their doubtful moments with me, told me about their screw ups, and coached me through my own. I see now that being a part of this blog is me giving back, in a small way, to all of those who helped me along my career path. As you know, you can submit your questions and conundrums to us here at Library Lost & Found–it’s a great group of library leaders, and I hope you’ll consider sending us your questions!



Eva Davis is the Director of the Canton Public Library in Canton, Michigan--not Canton, Ohio, or Canton, Massachusetts, or Canton, Mississippi. (It is an easy mistake to make.) Eva honed her supervisory and management skills working in customer service, research, and publishing before heading to graduate school at the University of Michigan School of Information. She became a librarian in 1998. She was an intern and then the teen services librarian at the Plymouth (MI) District Library before moving to the Ann Arbor (MI) District Library, where she was Head of the Youth Department at the Downtown library, Head of Youth Services for the system, Head of Branch Services, and finally Associate Director for Public Services. Eva has held her dream job as the Director of the award-winning Canton Public Library since 2008. She received the Michigan Library Association's Frances H. Pletz Award for Excellence in Teen Services in 2003, and is a graduate of both Leadership Ann Arbor and Leadership Canton, where she learned that she is moderately Affiliative according to MAFF, her color is "Green" on the Four Color Personality Test, and her Myers-Briggs Type is INTJ (although she has worked diligently and consistently on improving her Sensing, so she now leans ISTJ). Follow @CantonLibrary and @EvaDavisCPL on Twitter. (Photo credit: Susan Kennedy)

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Choosing Library Leadership « Library Lost & Found - October 10, 2016

    […] next library leadership practice that you can embrace is being a mentor. Many of us don’t feel quite ready to be a mentor. Personally, whenever I hear mentoring […]

  2. Get Inspired by Library Interns! « Library Lost & Found - June 21, 2017

    […] make sure they are offered a variety of opportunities throughout their internship. That said, it is everyone’s job to mentor the Interns. The Librarians work with them at the service desks, share tips, techniques, and […]

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