Formal Mentors

New to the profession and looking for someone to help answer your questions and with whom you can share your ideas? Changing roles or have new responsibilities and need to talk with someone who has “been there, done that”?

Feel you have wonderful professional knowledge and wisdom to share with other librarians who are looking for guidance?

Well then, you have found the right page!

How to Get Started

To sign up as a mentor or a mentee, please use this convenient e-mail enrollment form. Please contact the Mentoring Committee Chair with any questions. Please see the current PAM staff listing for contact information.

We will send you a confirmation by e-mail to let you know that we received your information. As soon as we find a mentor/mentee that suits your profile, we will introduce you to each other. The pairing may take a few weeks depending on who is available for the program.

More Information on Mentoring

Many institutions have support structures for general professional development, but PAM librarians also need to learn the skills, resources, and structures particular to those disciplines.

To assist in your personal development as a PAM librarian, the Division Mentoring Program helps to provide:

  • A guide to the discipline’s information landscape
  • Help in developing a network of peers
  • Career guidance and support
  • Evaluation of professional progress

(Much of the following information is abbreviated from The Mentorship Handbook: A Guide for SLA Chapters and Divisions to Establish Mentorship Programs, Special Libraries Association.)

Who Should be a Mentee?

Anyone who wants a little professional help from their PAM friends!

Mentees should have a:

  • Willingness ask questions and to listen to feedback and advice.
  • Commitment to advancing in the profession. Mentors will spend much time and effort in helping you to develop professionally, and they want to know their efforts will be rewarded by your success in and contributions to the profession!

What is a Mentor?

The role of the mentor varies, depending upon the level of commitment established by both the mentor and mentee. Types of mentoring relationships include:

  • Teacher, trainer, coach
  • Positive role model
  • Developer of talent
  • Opener of doors
  • Protector
  • Sponsor
  • Successful leader

A mentoring relationship can be established based on just one of these areas, or a mentor can serve in all of these functions. Typically, a mentoring relationship is developed between someone who is new to the profession and a more experienced person in the field. However, mentoring relationships can involve someone who has been in the field for a while, but is changing career paths and is looking for guidance and support. It can also be someone who is just looking for support and direction.

Good mentors have the following qualities:

  • Motivated with a commitment to mentoring
  • Excellent communicator
  • A good listener as well as advisor
  • Professionally active and well-respected
  • Supportive and encouraging
  • Experienced in the areas of interest to the mentee

Stages of Mentorship

  • Exploration:

Find out about each other, see if there is a match of personality, professional goals, etc.

  • Negotiation:

What does each person want from the relationship? What expectations does each person have for the other? What commitments are required by both parties?

  • Affirmation:

Start work on relationship. Uphold responsibilities which were laid out in Negotiation phase. Continue to define and redefine relationship. Be open to both teach and learn as competencies are gained.

  • Termination:

There can be a predefined expiration date for the relationship (e.g., a one year commitment), or it can end, hopefully, mutually, when interests or professional positions change. Mentorships may continue indefinitely. Mentees may feel able to assume mentor role with another person to continue the cycle.

It is important to state expectations at the beginning of the mentorship so that both parties are working toward the same goals. Don’t feel pressured to form a mentorship if you are not comfortable with the person to whom you were assigned. We can always find you another partner! This should be a successful and rewarding experience for both parties involved.

How will the Mentoring Subcommittee Help with My Mentorship?

The Subcommittee “facilitates one-on-one learning interactions between PAM members and the inclusion of new members in the activities of the Division. The Subcommittee connects interested members for the purpose of sharing expertise, both in long-term mentoring relationships and short-term skill and knowledge transfer.” (PAM Division Manual)

Using the information from your interest form, the Subcommittee matches individuals with similar goals and helps start the process of forming a mentorship; we will help you get to know one another and provide a structure for setting up the parameters of the mentorship.

Once the mentorship is underway, the Subcommittee, if desired, can help to maintain the lines of communication by providing talking points and issues for the participants to discuss. Like any long-distance relationship, maintaining mentorships involves work, and the Subcommittee can be a resource for working out difficulties and answering questions.

We also will ask you for feedback on your mentoring experiences, so your efforts can help future mentorships be successful.