ACRL-DVC Mentoring Program Guidelines

The goal of the ACRL-DVC Mentoring Program is to match up library school students, new librarians, & librarians considering a job change with an experienced librarian mentor who will provide advice, guidance, or act as a sounding board.

Communication and Setting Goals & Expectations

It is important that both the mentor and mentee remember that the mentoring relationship is a real professional relationship. Each mentoring relationship will be different because the people involved in the relationship are different. As a result, it is important that both parties begin their relationship by working together to set goals and expectations early on in the process. Mentors are encouraged to ask their mentee about their needs, and mentees should make sure to clearly articulate to their mentors what they expect to receive from this mentoring relationship. One expectation of any relationship is communication between the two parties involved. Frequent communication is key to any relationship, so each mentor/mentee pair may want to establish a regular time to “check in” with each other, either via e-mail, over the phone, or in person.

Advice for Mentors:

While your mentee should be able to articulate what they want from this relationship, you may have to take the initiative to start this discussion, and guide the process along by suggesting potential activities or discussions that you and your mentee could have. Make an effort to meet with your mentee at least once, face-to-face, and take the initiative to regularly check in with your mentee and ask how they are doing. When talking with your mentee remember that you are trying to help them achieve their goals (not your goals for them), so be sensitive to their desires and expectations.

Potential Activities or Discussion topics
  • Invite your mentee to tour your library or to shadow you for a day
  • Take your mentee out to lunch
  • Attend a professional development meeting with your mentee (such as those sponsored each semester by ACRL-DVC!)
  • Provide suggestions for ways in which your mentee can become actively involved in professional associations.
  • Review your mentee’s resume
  • Start discussions over e-mail about career plans, best practices, topics related to classes your mentee is taking, your personal work experiences, etc.
  • Arrange for your mentee to meet with co-workers or other professionals who might be able to provide them with different information or a different point of view.
Advice for the Mentee:

While the mentor gains satisfaction from connecting with another librarian and passing on their experiences, YOU, the mentee, are the primary beneficiary of this relationship. As a result it is up to you to take an active role in collecting and filtering the advice you receive from your mentor, and using it to create your own path in the profession. Do not be shy in asking your mentor for help, but show that you respect their time and effort by listening critically and objectively to what they have to say. At the same time, you should also keep in mind that your mentor is just one person, and that other librarians may have different opinions and different experiences.

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