By David Brown, Wyoming Outreach and Engagement Specialist for NNLM Region 4, University of Wyoming Libraries
Reposted from the Network of the National Library of Medicine
From October 2020 to July 2021, I had the opportunity to participate in the Wyoming Library Association Mentorship Program as a protégé. The purpose of this program is to assist all library staff to succeed in their library careers. In this program the mentors provide protégés with a personal relationship that allows for acculturating, encouraging new talent, sharing expertise and connections, and promoting professional growth. During the times of COVID this was all done virtually.
I saw this as an opportunity to further network and engage with libraries and librarians in the State of Wyoming. This opportunity would provide me more information about the state and its library community. One reason I was interested in this program is that I had recently moved to the state to take a position within the Midcontinental Region of the Network of the National Library of Medicine.
To become a member of the mentorship program you must fill out an application that asks questions about why you want to be a part of the program and to establish some personal goals while involved in the program. This application applies both to mentors and protégées. I completed the application and waited several weeks to be matched with a mentor.
I was fortunate that for a mentor I received the Wyoming State Librarian, Jamie Markus. Jamie and I had monthly meetings throughout the program year. During these meetings, Jamie and I talked about the library structures and the policies that govern the library systems within the state. We also talked about the state library and its functions within the state. I also talked with Jamie about the upcoming changes to the Network of the National Library of Medicine as we were in the process of transitioning from the MidContinetal Region to Region 4.
During this program, I learned about the structure of Wyoming’s library systems and the appropriations procedures in the state when it comes to library funding. We completed the CliftonStrengths assessment. CliftonStrengths is a personality assessment that examines your responses to questions to find what areas are considered strengths for you. Each of these activities was rewarding and provided me with a better understanding about Wyoming’s library community as well as opportunities to engage with Wyoming library professionals in a safe and virtual way during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Overall, I found this mentorship program a rewarding and engaging experience. I hope new professionals and existing professionals new to a region or state would consider joining a mentorship program. I would also recommend established professionals to sign up as a mentor to help further develop the skills of librarians and help them navigate the profession they are choosing. The time and effort are worth it to further develop your skills in librarianship.
David Brown is the Public Health Engagement Specialist and Outreach Specialist for the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming for the Network of the National Library of Medicine Region 4
He holds a Doctor of Education with a specialization in health education from Teachers College Columbia University. He also holds a Master of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University. Additionally, he has two Masters of Arts Degrees from Columbia University one in computers and education and another in health education. He is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist.
David has been involved in training public health professionals for the last 15 years, teaching and supervising research in health education and public health at a number of universities in both the United States and abroad. He has served on the board of directors for the Society for Public Health Education. He currently serves on the Divisional Board for the Certification of Health Education Specialists with The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Inc. He has also served on several editorial boards related to health education and promotion.