Many early career librarians are attracted to residency programs for the structured learning and mentoring opportunities. Those who are best able to recognize and pursue learning opportunities, including mentoring relationships, are often the most successful residents. Effective mentoring relationships accelerate learning and professional development for residents, especially when the 2-3 year residency appointments pass by so quickly.
Julie Todaro provides some excellent mentoring advice in her recent Library Leadership & Management column (volume 25, number 3). The question and answer format addresses concerns of both mentors and mentees. The topics touch on distance relationships, what to expect, tips on getting started and other practical concerns.
Residency program coordinators typically have a structured mentoring relationship with new residents as they facilitate the orientation process and guide transitions through various work assignments. They encourage professional contacts with library and campus colleagues. They may also direct residents to formal mentoring programs coordinated by professional associations such as LLAMA.
Residents benefit by having multiple mentors, ideally in different institutions. The “People” section of the ACRL Residency Interest Group (RIG) website is a resource for connecting residents with colleagues who have been through similar residency experiences at other institutions. Past residents and program coordinators are encouraged to add photos and identities to the ACRL RIG website and assist newer residents who may be interested in mentoring relationships.
Julie Brewer – University of Delaware