The Value of the SJSU SLIS Peer Mentor Program

Peer Mentors are students at SJSU SLIS .  Debbie Faires, who runs the program, requests applications  every semester.  Peer Mentors assist students in LIBR 203, the required introduction to the tools and technology used at SLIS.

There are a number of good motivations for becoming a peer mentor.  My motivations were an interest in helping students and a need for recent instruction experience.  I taught a training class for U.S. Census enumerators, but that was back in 1990.  I have had no previous experience in online instruction, and I thought that such experience would be useful for my future career.

The Peer Mentor program was established because LIBR 203 instructors teach multiple sections of the course, and cannot be everywhere at once.  Vicki Steiner, the wonderful instructor that I’m assisting, teaches four sections of LIBR 203.  Students are attempting to finish the course quickly, and will often need immediate assistance.

Peer mentors have more to offer students than their availability.  We can offer our experience as students in the program.  We can offer practical suggestions about study habits and organization.  We can make recommendations for courses in the areas that interest individual students, and tell you about their workloads.  We can tell you who to contact at SJSU SLIS  if you have a particular problem.  If we don’t know, we can find out.  That is the value of having a mentor.

Those who are training for the information professions are in the business of helping people.  This means that successful candidates for an MLIS degree want to help others.  I have found  librarians and archivists outside of SLIS who were willing to assist me.   This is an advantage of  being part of a helping profession.  Students at SLIS should look for mentors along their career path. The best way to find mentors is by joining professional organizations, but students can also find mentors through volunteering and through internships.

I hope that my students in LIBR 203 will take full advantage of the opportunity of having a mentor, so that can be more successful students.


About lfrankel9

Linda Frankel is a MLIS student at San Jose State University with interests in cataloging, metadata, web usability, libraries and archives. The challenges of 21st century information metamorphosis are what motivate her to pursue a career in the information professions.

Posted on January 1, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I appreciate the helping aspect of this profession. I work in a community college library with educators. It is a very motivating and supportive environment. I have only worked in the library profession for 5 years. Having worked in another industry driven by consumers, customer service is very important to me. Patrons of libraries are information consumers. Providing them with information and assistance is definitely a rewarding experience. Being helped by others is encouraging. Helping others is priceless.

    Thank you for your help and support.

  2. Linda, I’ve already found your encouragement and guidance to be very helpful. I’m impressed that you’ve been able to take on a mentor role in addition to your studies. By the way, I love that you use the phrase “information professions”. I think this really illustrates the broad application of an MLIS degree. So many of my friends don’t really understand how I’m going to be able to use the degree. They think it’s old fashioned, but I’m finding quite the opposite to be true. For instance, I never thought I’d be able to set up a blog. So exciting!

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