OLA Mentoring Program


View Mentors in a larger map
Locations of the current pool of OLA Mentors with their libraries listed. Please note: many of these mentors are already matched with mentees. View the Mentor map  in a larger window.


Information for Potential Mentors and Mentees

The goal of the OLA Career Mentoring Program is to provide encouragement, support and guidance to early-career librarians (with less than five years of professional experience) to promote their professional development and growth.

A mentor is a mid-to-late career (with five or more years of professional experience) librarian who listens and provides guidance to librarians at the start of their careers. Mentors and mentees must commit to one year in the program (with the option of nine months for librarians on nine-month contracts) and have contact 5-6 times during that period. The mentoring relationship can last beyond one year if the mentor and mentee choose.

 

Benefits of mentoring programs

  • Early-career librarians have the opportunity to develop professional skills and a sense of direction.
  • Experienced librarians can contribute to the profession by helping to develop future leaders.
  • Both early-career and experienced librarians can learn from each other’s perspectives and experiences.
  • Both early-career and experienced librarians can develop enhanced listening skills and the ability to communicate with respect.
  • The profession as a whole can benefit from the opportunity to capture knowledge from senior library leaders.

 

For mentors

To become a mentor, you must:

1. Have been in a professional library position(s) for five or more years.

2. Be an OLA member.

3. Hold an MLIS or equivalent (MSIS, MLS, school library teaching license, etc.).

4. Commit to at least one year (or nine months for librarians on nine-month contracts) with the program. Mentors and mentees can continue their relationship beyond the required time period if they choose.

5. Have good listening skills.

6. Have a desire to support, encourage and guide those new to the profession.

7. Be open to other viewpoints and professional goals.

 

What does being a mentor entail?

1. Completing the mentor application.

2. Initiating contact with your mentee.

3. Keeping in contact with your mentee 5-6 times per year by phone, email, web conferencing, or in-person meetings for the course of the year (or nine months).

4. Providing feedback and suggestions for your mentee’s professional development related to their stated goals.

5. Providing feedback to OLA at the completion of the year via a survey.

6. OLA Mentoring Guidelines

 

For Mentees:

To become a mentee, you must meet ALL of the following requirements:

1. Be an OLA Member.

2. Hold an MLIS or equivalent (MSIS, MLS, school library teaching license, etc.) AND/OR have been in a professional library position(s) for fewer than five years.

3. Currently be working in a library in some capacity (volunteer, paraprofessional, professional).

4. Commit to at least one year (or nine months for librarians on nine-month contracts) with the program. Mentors and mentees can continue their relationship beyond the required time period if they choose.

5. Have a strong interest in professional development.

6. Be willing to share goals and challenges.

7. Be open to feedback and advice.

 

What does being a mentee entail?

1. Completing the mentee application.

2. Communicating via email, phone or in-person at least once per month for one year (or nine months).

3. Providing the mentor with a copy of your resume and goals for the year.

4. Seeking advice on professional issues.

5. Providing feedback to OLA at the completion of the year via a survey.

6.  OLA Mentoring Guidelines

 

What does the time commitment look like for a mentor?

During the one-year (or nine-month) period, you must be in contact with your mentee 5-6 times per year. This may mean sending an email, initiating a phone conversation, meeting via web conferencing software (GoToMeeting is provided through OLA) or meeting face-to-face. Beyond that, the duration and frequency of that contact is up to the individual mentor and mentee. The time commitment is determined by the mentor and mentee together and is based on the goals they mutually set for the year. The mentoring relationship can last longer than one year and contact can be more frequent if both mentor and mentee choose.

 

Is there a deadline to become a mentor or a mentee?

No. We match people up throughout the year, so you can apply at any time for either role.

 

How do you match up mentors and mentees?

In the application, the mentor describes his or her experience and areas in which they feel comfortable mentoring. The mentee application asks the mentee to describe his or her goals and experience. We then do our best to match up mentors and mentees based on library type, experience and goals. We will look for a mentor whose expertise bets fits the mentee’s goals.

 

What if my mentor and I aren’t a good fit?

Occasionally, the mentoring relationship doesn’t work out. This can be a result of bad fit, a mentor or mentee who doesn’t actively participate in the relationship, or communication issues. If this happens, the best way to approach it is to first address the issue with the mentor/mentee. If this does not rectify the problem, contact the Mentoring Program Administrators at mentor@olaweb.org who can try and help fix the problem.

 

What if I have questions?

The OLA Mentoring Program is managed by the OLA Membership Committee and the administrators are:

Meredith Farkas, Portland State University Library
Emily Papagni, Multnomah County Library
Lisa Molinelli, Portland State University Library 


Please contact the Mentoring Program Administrators at mentor@olaweb.org with any questions or concerns.

Current mentors can give and receive support from one another in our Mentor Forum.


Mentor Program Forms:

To become a mentor, click here to fill out the Mentor Application.

To be a mentee, click here to fill out the Mentee Application.

 
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