Mentoring Program

Purpose of Program:

The DOLS Mentoring Program, organized by the DOLS Mentoring and Networking Committee, matches new librarians or librarians less experienced with serving distance students to appropriate mentors in the field in order to learn from experienced DOLS librarians, develop skills, network, and pursue professional goals. In addition to these benefits, participating in the mentorship program as either a mentor or mentee helps to facilitate communication between DOLS members, foster a sense of community within DOLS, and increase knowledge on both sides through the exchange of ideas and sharing of experiences.

Program Timeline:

The DOLS Mentoring Program runs September 1 through June 30 each year with both mentor and mentee applications accepted July 1 to July 31st. A formal mentorship is expected to last approximately 10 months.

Requirements for Participation:

All participants in the DOLS Mentoring Program must be current members of ACRL and DOLS, and must have either current or future responsibilities in serving distance students. Mentors should also have experience serving distance students in librarianship, have research experience, or have service participation (or all three).

To apply to be a mentee or mentor, fill out one of the forms below (Open from July 1st to July 31st):

Matching Mentors and Mentees:

After the application process has closed, DOLS Mentoring and Networking committee members will pair mentors with mentees based on intended areas of professional growth. The committee will do their best to match professional interests of mentors and mentees, but matching depends on applicant pool and availability. The committee can later change a mentor-mentee partnership if needed—please contact the committee co-chairs.

Setting Goals and Objectives:

Once mentor/mentees have been paired, the DOLS Mentoring and Networking Committee will alert all program participants of their match and share mentor/mentee contact information. It is recommended that mentors get in touch with their mentees early in the program to set goals. First meetings/communication can be used to:

  1. Establish mentee personal goals and specific skill areas the mentor can focus on.
  2. Set priorities of which goals and skills the mentor and mentee would like to work on
  3. Establish a tentative mentorship timeline of when the mentor/mentee pair will communicate, how frequently, and through what medium.
  4. Brainstorm potential activities that may be beneficial to the mentee’s goals (for example: webinars, resume reviews, virtual job shadows, virtual conferences, in-person conferences, local events near the mentee).

Mentor Expectations:

Building trust is the first step that the mentor should work towards, specifically ensuring that the conversations taking place are confidential.  Mentors are expected to communicate with their mentees over the course of the program in whatever medium works best for the mentor/mentee pair. For example: email exchanges, online meetings, face to face meetings, phone call conversations, shared virtual activities, live field trips, etc. Participants will be asked about their communication successes and challenges on a survey distributed at the end of the mentorship year to provide feedback and assessment of the DOLS Mentorship Program. Mentors may want to save a copy of their mentee’s  Goal Sheet to assist with filling out the survey.

Mentors are expected to reach out to their mentees if they don’t hear from them within the first two weeks of September. An introductory email, phone call, letter, etc. is recommended. While the DOLS Mentoring and Networking Committee will alert all mentees of their mentor names and contact information, it is the responsibility of the mentor to initiate conversations and establish meetings and activities (based on the needs of the mentee). If a mentor does not hear back from their mentee after trying to reach out for a month, mentors are expected to contact the committee co-chairs. A mentorship pair can be changed or terminated if participation does not take place or any issues arise.

Mentee Expectations:

Trust is the cornerstone of a good mentoring relationship.  As such, please respect and keep confidential all conversations between you and your Mentor.  Mentees are expected to communicate with their mentors over the course of the program in whatever medium works best for the mentor/mentee pair. It is the mentee’s responsibility to alert their mentor to communication methods that work best for them. Participants will be asked about their communication successes and challenges on a survey distributed at the end of the mentorship year to provide feedback and assessment of the DOLS Mentorship Program. Mentees may want to save their Goal Sheet to assist with filling out the survey.

If you do not communicate with your mentor or the DOLS committee within the first month of the mentorship arrangement (September), you will be considered inactive from the program. Mentees are expected to respect the time of their mentor and understand they are serving in a volunteer position in addition to their jobs, committees, and daily lives. If mentees feel they are not getting the most out of their mentorship experience, they can contact the DOLS committee for assistance. A mentorship pair can be changed or terminated if participation does not take place or any issues arise.

This program is not…

…professional coaching. For information on the difference between mentoring and coaching view: https://www.kent.edu/yourtrainingpartner/know-difference-between-coaching-and-mentoring

…guaranteeing to get mentees a job or promotion.

…a free therapist for mentees or mentors to work out professional or personal problems.

…a free assistant to help mentors with their job duties or committee work.

This program definitely is…

…a positive place for those working with distance and online students to learn from each other in a formalized program setting.

…an opportunity to learn more about specific areas within the field such as publishing and career development.

…a safe and open environment where listening and communication are encouraged.

…a partnership where both parties give their time to advance the development of colleagues in the field.

For questions, assistance with activities, requests for mentorship changes and more, please contact the DOLS Mentoring and Networking Committee Co-Chairs.