The College Library Director Mentoring Program, started in 1992, is designed to enhance leadership capabilities of new college library directors, and to help them meet the unique challenges involved in directing libraries at small, four year colleges in the United States. The program has three main components designed to establish a cohort, provide coaching, and develop community:

  • The first-year director is matched with an experienced director, within a reasonable traveling distance, who acts as a listener to help but not tell. Each director visits the other’s library at least once that year.
  • Mid-year, participants attend a 3-day seminar held prior to a national conference, which is led by experienced directors who are program alumni or former mentors. Topics are based on participant needs, and can include planning, campus politics, and scenarios for approaching various issues. Cohort size is limited to about fifteen participants, who become a support network throughout their careers.
  • Participants subscribe to a confidential discussion list of program participants, alumni, and mentors. This group of colleagues provide guidance, examples, and support on a myriad of topics.

Participants also meet via several webinars during the fall before the seminar to get acquainted and to touch on general management issues.

During the first 20 years of the program 295 first-year college library directors from 238 different institutions have participated. They include 93 men and 202 women. The participants come from colleges as varied as Carleton to Central Methodist and Tougaloo to Western State College of Colorado. The first year participants represent forty-three different states.

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