• Un-mentoring in the Last Frontier

      Carle, Daria O.; Ericson, Christie; Powell, Kristi D. (ACRL Publications, 2013-01)
      In the fall 2005, when two faculty librarians at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s (UAA) Consortium Library realized that three people on the library staff were enrolled in library school, they saw the perfect opportunity to start a discussion group that would benefit both currently employed librarians and students entering the information field. The original three students were enrolled in the MLIS distance program at the University of Washington, working in the Consortium Library, and taking classes part-time. The two faculty librarians had been out of library school for more than ten years by then, so the intent was to organize a forum with an informal, relaxed atmosphere that would be an engaging way to keep up with current curricula, to learn about class projects the students were working on, and to hear about their experiences. While the librarians learned from the students, the students could, in turn, share their new expertise with the library faculty. That was the beginning of what came to be known as FLIP: Future Library and Information Science People.1 Now, nearly seven years later, FLIP is still going strong. What the name stands for has changed slightly—to Future Librarians and Information Professionals—and the membership has expanded to include anyone considering a career as a librarian or enrolling in an MLS or MLIS program. Characterizing FLIP as a “mentoring” program misses the mark, since so much more than just mentoring is happening. Because the benefits go both ways, we prefer the term “un-mentoring” to describe FLIP. Regardless of its definition or description, however, the original purpose remains the same: to provide an informal discussion forum that enriches library school studies with librarian expertise, advice, and insight.