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Brave Enough to Take the Next Step: A Tale of Mentoring at the Library

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Gesille Dixon
Borough Director, Bronx Neighborhood Library Networks

The New York Public Library’s 88 neighborhood branches are vibrant hubs where people can connect to others in their community as well as to the resources they need to live, work and play. This is true for Gesille Dixon, Borough Director for Bronx Neighborhood Library Networks. When Gesille began her career as a Librarian Trainee 17 years ago, she thought it would be great to have someone to talk to about work challenges. She found that and more in Caryl, who took the time to just “check in.” Their mentoring relationship developed organically out of what Gesille recognizes as someone being, “interested in seeing you grow.”

At the time, Gesille was intent on becoming a great librarian. Today, Gesille’s responsibilities have expanded to supporting a network of librarians at 35 branches in the Bronx. In this role she recognizes that she serves as an informal mentor to many. She is grateful for mentors like Caryl, and was sure to let her know at a staff retreat held this past year. She recalls telling her, “because of you I felt brave enough to take the next step.”

Mentorship is not quite like teaching or coaching. Mentoring is empowering others to take charge of their own goals, successes, and next steps. Whatever the next step might be for the high school students joining our mentoring programs at Mott Haven and 96th Street libraries, it is comforting knowing that they will move toward their goals in the presence of great company.

We are inviting more people to connect with The New York Public Library as we seek to recruit 40–60 corporate mentors to join students one night a month starting in November and ending in May. If you’re interested in sharing your college and career experiences with teens, apply today to mentor at the Library. If you know a high school student who would benefit from this opportunity, please encourage them to submit a student application.

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