MENTORSHIP PROGRAM

PURPOSE

The WLA Mentorship Program, a free program for WLA members, is designed to provide encouragement, support, and guidance to library staff seeking professional growth through connections with experienced colleagues within a structured mentoring program. Mentees gain experience from knowledgeable library colleagues while becoming further involved in the statewide professional association. Mentors gain opportunities to give back to the profession, model volunteerism, and help influence the future of librarianship.

OBJECTIVES

  1. Create a self-sustaining statewide mentorship program through WLA.
  2. Encourage new professionals to become members and participate in WLA and related leadership opportunities.
  3. Foster professional relationships for library workers in all types of libraries.
  4. Build the skills and confidence of early career library staff or mid-career individuals looking to advance within their field or transition into a new role or position.
  5. Give members the opportunity to teach/share and re-energize them in their work.
  6. Create opportunities for mentors and mentees to expand their professional networks in a collaborative and supportive manner.

PROGRAM OUTLINE

MENTORS

  1. Mentors may be WLA members from any library type, library system, or related organization.
  2. Mentors should have a genuine interest in working with a library peer and be willing to commit to 2-3 hours per month (on average) to the relationship.
  3. Mentors should have a minimum of 2 years in the field, OR should have a specific experience or subject specialty (such as building project or marketing experience).
  4. WLA members may indicate interest in serving as a mentor by applying here. Mentors should be prepared to commit to a one year partnership.

MENTEES

  1. Mentees may be WLA members from any library type, library system, or related organization.
  2. Mentees should have a genuine interest in working with a library peer. Mentees should enter the program with clearly defined goals for professional growth.
  3. Any WLA member may apply to the mentorship program here.  Mentees should be prepared to commit to a one year partnership.

TIMELINE

The WLA Mentorship Program runs asynchronously, on a rolling timeline. Matches will be made by the WLA Leadership Committee within 3-4 months after receiving an application from an interested mentee.

  1. Application from mentee is received.
  2. Committee discusses potential mentor match at regularly scheduled quarterly meeting and a committee liaison is identified.
  3. Mentor and mentee will receive communication from the committee including orientation materials and a year-at-a-glance calendar with suggested activities.
  4. Mentor pair holds an initial meeting to go through orientation materials, scheduled by the mentor within the first month following match assignment.
  5. Deliverable from first meeting includes: goals & logistic worksheet (provided in orientation materials) emailed to the committee liaison.
  6. Check-in by committee liaison every three months (3 month - survey, 6-9 month - phone check in)
    1. In case of an unsuccessful match: lack of time or commitment, personality conflict, or goals not on track, committee liaison will work with the pair to improve partnership with last resort being a new mentor assignment.
  7. End of experience assessment for all participants.
  8. Committee to review timeline and program elements upon completion of pilot year.

PROGRAM CONTACTS

For more information about the Mentorship Program contact Jennifer Chamberlain.

For WLA administrative details or to register, contact Hannah Bunting.


QUICK ANSWERS TO COMMON QUESTIONS

Is there an additional cost to be in the mentorship program, as either a mentee or a mentor?

No. This is a free program for WLA members. 

Do I have to be a librarian to participate in this program?

No. We encourage all WLA members to apply.

What if there are no mentors available?

The WLA section will actively search for a mentor in the case that none have proactively applied or in the case that specific expertise is required.

What if the partnership isn’t working?

The WLA section will do their best to assist by either facilitating or re-partnering mentees.

Would I make a good mentor?

Yes! If you have 2 or more years of experience in the library field or another specific skill set, you’re a perfect candidate to sign up as a potential mentor.

What do mentors get out of this program?

Serving as a mentor can be a rewarding experience. Besides helping shape the future of the profession and promoting volunteerism in librarianship, serving as a mentor can recharge your enthusiasm in your position and lead you to consider different avenues of thought.

How often would we be required to meet?

Mentee/Mentor pairs will decide when, how often, and how to meet. It is suggested that you meet once per month.

Will we be required to meet in person?

While it can be beneficial to meet face-to-face, each mentee/mentor pair may decide what format works best for the relationship. There will be opportunities for networking and meeting at WLA conferences.

Why do I need to be a WLA member to participate in this program?

It’s a benefit of membership and the administrative costs associated are underwritten by member dues.

Can this experience qualify for CE credit for public library staff or library director certification?

Yes; speak with your system director to determine tracking protocol.