Southeastern Library Association Mentoring Program
The Southeastern Library Association is proud and honored to have you join their Mentoring Program. As a mentor, you are providing librarians, library science students. or library assistants/support staff/paralibrarians with an understanding of what librarianship is all about. Plus, you are helping them to understand the importance of volunteerism and professional involvement. As a mentee, you are the future of librarianship and the strength of library associations, such as the Southeastern Library Association.
We hope you will enjoy your year* as either a mentor or mentee in the Southeastern Library Association Mentoring Program. The future of the mentoring program is dependent on you. As a mentee, this program will provide experience and guidance from a knowledgeable library professional. As a mentor, the program will provide an opportunity to give back to the profession, model volunteerism, and help guide the future of librarianship.
Both as a mentor and mentee, your involvement in the Southeastern Library Association will bring many benefits to you, your colleagues, and the Southeastern Library Association.
- Your involvement is necessary.
- Your guidance is appreciated.
- Your experience is critical.
- Your support is helpful.
*The SELA Mentoring program can run for either one or two years, depending on the needs and goals of the mentor and mentee.
.A. Program Description
B. Mission Statement
C. What is a Mentor?
D. What is a Mentee?E. Membership and Mentoring Committee
F. Time Line
G. Leadership Conference
H. Biennial Conference
I. Suggested Activities for Mentors and Mentees
J. Suggested Activities for Mentors
L. Resources: Books, Articles, Websites
M. Appendix: Forms
*A number of items found in this document were developed after reading the
The SELA Mentoring Program has been established in order to provide a method of introducing and encouraging librarians and other library personnel to work together, to network and to support the SELA organization. Mentors are current members of the association who have agreed to help other members learn about the profession in general and more specifically about the different aspects of SELA and how it functions. The development of a professional relationship between the mentor and mentee is one of the many benefits of the SELA Mentoring Program. The long-term goal of the SELA Mentoring Program is to create an interest in librarians and library personnel working together to and create a dynamic professional organization for learning.
On the membership form, members of the association are given the opportunity to join the mentoring program and have a mentor assigned to them. Existing members will have the opportunity to participate in the mentoring program by choosing to become a mentor on their renewal form. Mentors will normally share job titles and/or responsibilities with the mentee in order to provide a more comprehensive relationship.
The Membership and Mentoring Committee will pair mentors with their mentee. Mentors will be provided an email address for their mentee in order to make first contact. The members will be provided the contact information for their mentor to facilitate the introductory process. This information will be delivered to individuals with their membership/renewal information.
The SELA Mentoring Program is an invitation for library professionals at all levels to learn, develop, and meet their individual potential with assistance from experienced professionals. The Program is designed to help library professionals succeed, empower them to make decisions, enhance self-awareness, and promote a sense of belonging.
A SELA mentor is an experienced person who willingly provides professional and useful advice to librarians, library science students, or library assistants/support staff/paralibrarians in order for him/her to achieve success in his/her new position and profession.
- Five plus (5+) years of professional library experience.
- Minimum commitment of one year to program.*
- Willingness to communicate with mentee as often as necessary, at least 4-6 times during the year.
- Must be a SELA Member.
- To serve as a guide, sharing your professional experiences, triumphs, and struggles
- To listen, answer questions, and offer tips and suggestions for action
- Promote and encourage the importance of participation in SELA activities and committees.
- Provide feedback to the mentee regarding his/her strengths and development needs
- Be a sounding board for ideas
- Assist in setting goals
- Share knowledge and experiences
- Assist in the growth and education of library professionals
- Gain insights to new and cutting edge librarianship from new graduates
- Give back what has been gained (if you had a mentor in the past)
- Practice problem solving and listening skills
- Meet people with diverse experiences, skills and contacts
- Collaborate with mentors/mentees who have similar career goals, interest, and job functions.
- Clarify expectations with the mentee as to the extent to which you will offer guidance.
- Become familiar with the mentee through personal interactions and reading his/her resume.
- Attend either the SELA Biennial Conference or Leadership Conference and provide guidance to the mentee during the Conference**
- Introduce the mentee to other professionals
- Share pertinent information and email messages
- Advise mentee on SELA organizational norms and expectations
- Be honest and professional in all interactions with mentee by following the ALA Code of Ethics
- Submit a brief yearly report about the mentoring program and your relationship with the individual you mentored to the Chair of the Membership and Mentoring Committee.
*If both the mentee and mentor agree, the mentoring program could be extended to a second year.
**If you are unable to attend either the Leadership Conference or the Biennial Conference, arrange with a SELA Board Member to meet with the mentee and provide him/her with an agenda.
A SELA mentee or a person being mentored is a librarian, library science student, or library assistants/support staff/paralibrarians seeking professional advice and guidance from an experienced library professional in order to achieve success in his/her new position or profession.
- Be a SELA member.
- Be a professional librarian, library science student or library assistants/support staff/paralibrarians.
- Minimum commitment of one year to program.*
- Willingness to communicate with mentor as often as necessary, at least 4-6 times during the year.
- Practice problem solving and listening skills
- Meet colleagues with varied experiences, skills, and contacts
- Learn what SELA has to offer
- Network with others in your field from various places
- Become a future mentor for other professionals
- Attend either the SELA Biennial Conference or Leadership Conference and meet with mentor in person
- Communicate effectively with mentor at least 4-6 times per year
- Take initiative and seek professional advice from the mentor when needed
- Know and be able to discuss your needs and objectives with mentor
- Take responsibility for your career goals.
- Receive feedback from mentor objectively
- Submit a brief yearly report about the mentoring program and your relationship with the individual that mentored you to the Chair of the Membership and Mentoring Committee
* If both the mentee and mentor agree, the mentoring program could be extended to a second year..
The Membership and Mentoring Committee will maintain and expand the membership rolls of SELA and offer a mentoring program to support librarians, library science students, and library assistants/support staff/paralibrarians as they develop within the profession and the Association.
You can become part of the Mentoring Program at any time.
There is no specific time line for accomplishing different aspects of the mentoring program. Each mentoring pair will work on different projects they develop.
The SELA Mentoring Program is a one-year program, with the possibility of a second year if both the mentor and the mentee feel they would like to work together for an additional year to accomplish the goals they have developed.
The Leadership Conference is held in the spring of each non-conference year. Participants are the Presidents and Vice-Presidents/Presidents-Elect of each of the
At the Leadership Conference, the business of the Association and the strategies for running the Association for the following year are discussed. The Executive Board meets to vote on issues that directly affect the operation of the Association. In addition to the business of the Association, workshops are developed to help those who are in positions of responsibility learn how to better function in their various roles.
At the Biennial Conference of the Association, a business meeting is held. Personal members in attendance at a regularly scheduled meeting shall constitute a quorum at any business meeting. Additional business meetings may be called by the President with the approval of the Executive Board.
A State Officers meeting, to be attended by the Presidents, Vice-Presidents/Presidents-Elect, and Executive Secretaries/Directors of the state associations will be held during each Biennial Conference.
The biennial conference rotates sites, and held in conjunction with SELA and a state library association. The joint conference merges the resources between the library associations. The joint venture is beneficial to both SELA and its association partner, where the joint conference provides each association the opportunity to attract local, regional, and national library and public leaders to address the members of both associations.
I. Required Activities for Mentors and Mentees
1. Develop Program Goals and Objectives
a. Each pair will define their own goals in a contract at the beginning of the mentoring year (see section K – How will the Program be evaluated?)
b. Submitted to the Chair of the Membership and Mentoring
Program within 2 months of mentor and mentee working together.
c. Understanding the mission and standards of librarianship
d. How SELA functions
e. Specific to mentee’s professional goals and interest both within and outside of SELA
1. Online workshop/ podcast/webinar and in-person
a. Mentor suggests different career learning opportunities (workshops and conferences) for the mentee to either attend or listen to.
b. Mentee must attend/listen to at least one program/workshop per year.
c. Mentee evaluates/summarizes the program and submits it to mentor
2. Resume tips
a. Within one month of beginning the mentoring program, the mentee and mentor will share their resumes/curriculum vitae with each other.
b. Mentor works with mentee to develop goals and objectives to explore their career interest, and evaluates the overall focus and appearance of the resume/curriculum vitae.
3. Develop a special project:
a. Research article for Southeastern Librarian (mentee); or
b. Program for the SELA Biennial Conference (mentee); or
c. At the end of their mentoring relationship, either give a presentation at the SELA Biennial Conference or write an article for the Southeastern Librarian on the mentoring experience and how it helped with her/his career (mentee).
4. Read two articles on mentoring. (see SELA Mentoring Program - Bibliography).
5. Mentor assists mentee in joining a SELA committee/roundtable/ section.
6. Mentee creates a personal log/journal for mentor/mentee interactions
- Supporting & Caring
"The concept of mentoring is no longer tailored to tall, hierarchical organizations. Mentoring is now seen as a process whereby mentor and mentee work together to discover and develop the mentee’s talents.”Mentoring: How to Develop Successful Mentor Behaviors by Gordon F. Shea
What is not mentoring?
- Spending more time than you have
- Just advising
- A lengthy and exhausting relationship
- Reserved for experts
- Hard work
Why have a SELA mentor?
Work collaboratively with a professional librarian and learn about the SELA organization, how it functions, and how you can get involved.
Why are mentors so important?
Mentors play a significant role in the lives of developing professionals by serving as a teacher, coach, counselor, and role model. They provide feedback and encouragement, offer professional advice, and help others make the connection between their present performance and their future.
I have never been a mentor before; do you offer any training for me?
As a mentor, you will need to have an understanding of SELA and its committees and an interest in providing guidance to someone who seeks your background as a library professional. If you are interested in learning about SELA and its structure, visit their web site at: http://selaonline.org/
Under the Resources section (N) of this handbook you will find a list of books, articles and websites that will help you find out more about mentoring. If you still have questions after reading the material, please contact the Membership and Mentoring Committee Chair. At the Leadership Conference and Biennial Conference, we will provide a workshop orientation for new mentors/mentees.
What if I cannot answer the mentee’s questions?
Some questions posed to you by your mentee might not be in your field of interest or within your scope of knowledge. When this situation arises, we encourage you to share this with the mentee and forward their question on to the Membership and Mentoring Chair. Notify the mentee that their question has been forward and that they will be contacted soon after the Membership and Mentoring Chair receives the question.
What if I’m not comfortable with my proposed mentee?
Please tell us! The purpose of your first meeting is to see whether the two of you are compatible - the match won’t be finalized until you have both approved it. Tell us frankly if things aren’t working the way you had hoped. If you haven’t talked directly with your mentee about issues that are causing disagreement, do so. Often, it will be a uestion of miscommunication that can be cleared up through open conversation. The next step is to talk with the Chair of the Membership and Mentoring Committee.
How do I become a mentor?
To become a mentor you need to fill out the Mentor Form. (18KB) After your form has been received and evaluated, either the Chair of the Membership and Mentoring Committee, the President, or the President Elect of SELA will contact you.
What are the starting and ending dates for the Mentoring Program?
You can become part of the Mentoring Program at any time. It is a one-year commitment. *
During the year you are in the Mentoring Program, you will be required to attend either the SELA Biennial Conference (during an even year) or Leadership Conference (during an odd year).
Who can be a SELA mentee?
Any librarian, library science student, or library assistant/support staff/paralibrarian who is a member of SELA.
Is there a fee for joining the SELA Mentoring Program?
No, there is no fee to join the SELA Mentoring Program.
How many mentees can be involved in the SELA Mentoring Program?
There is no limit.
How long does a mentee participate in the SELA Mentoring Program?
One year with the possibility of a second year if both the mentee and mentor feel it would be beneficial. You would be required to attend either the SELA Biennial Conference or Leadership Conference.
*If both the mentor and mentee agree, the mentoring program could last up to two years.
Who do I contact for more information on the Mentoring Program?
SELA Administrative Services
Attn: Gordon Baker (email@example.com)
Chair of the Membership and Mentoring Committee
How do I apply for the SELA Mentoring Program?
Complete the Mentee Application (18KB)
Mail or fax your application form to:
SELA Administrative Services
Attn: Gordon Baker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
After I apply for the SELA Mentoring Program, who will contact me?
After your application has been received and evaluated, you will be notified by mail and email that you have either been accepted into the SELA Mentoring Program or that your application has been denied. Once a mentor is identified, one who matches your area of librarianship and interests as described by your answers on the mentee’s application, s/he will contact you by mail, phone or email. No match between mentor and mentee is complete until both parties agree that they are comfortable with each other.What will my mentor do for me?
It is up to the mentee to take the initiative and make the SELA Mentoring Program a successful experience. Mentors offer information, support, feedback, contacts, and ideas but the mentee has to take it from there.
What types of things should I ask my mentor?
The types of questions asked vary and there are no right or wrong questions to ask. When you first meet your mentor, ground rules should be set so that each individual in the relationship is comfortable sharing information. As a general rule of thumb, if you are not comfortable asking a question or sharing certain information, then don't share it. As you develop a relationship with your mentor and the comfort level increases, you will eventually feel comfortable discussing issues that at first might seem inappropriate.
Are mentoring connections confidential?
In order to foster open and honest communication, the mentee must be able to trust the mentor not to disclose their discussions with others. Therefore, communication between the mentee and mentor will be kept confidential.
How many times should I meet with my mentor?
The number of times will vary depending on the needs of the pairs. During the year, you should meet or communicate at least 4-6 times with your mentor. It is up to you on how you do this face to face, via email, reviewing documents, giving feedback, etc. This is something you and your mentor should agree on at the outset.
Is my mentor available any time day or night?
Your mentor's availability and the best times and methods of getting in touch with him/her are items to discuss during your first meetings. You and your mentor should share your communication styles and specifications to ensure you have the best communication possible and set expectations in that area of your relationship.
Who can I go to if I have questions about the effectiveness of my mentor or the program?
The Chair of the Membership and Mentoring Committee. The Chair will follow up periodically with both mentors and mentees to inquire how the relationship is progressing.
Are there certain things that I should or shouldn't do as a mentee?
Always be open, honest, and respectful with your mentor, and the relationship and work you are doing together.
If I lost my mentor’s email address/phone number/mailing address, how can I obtain that information?
Contact the Chair of the Membership and Mentoring Committee.
What if I’m not comfortable with my proposed mentor?
Please tell us! The purpose of your first meeting is to see whether the two of you are compatible. The match between the mentor and mentee will not be finalized until each person has approved it.
Tell us frankly if things aren’t working the way you had hoped. If you haven’t already talked directly with your mentor, do so. Often, it is a question of miscommunication that can be cleared up by discussing the issue. The next step is to talk with the Chair of the Membership and Mentoring Committee.
If I have a complaint or a suggestion to improve the Mentoring Program, whom can I contact?
Your comments are very important to us and we appreciate all types of feedback. Please send questions and comments via email to either your mentor or the Chair of the Membership and Mentoring Committee.
What are the goals of the SELA Mentoring Program?
The Mentoring Program will pair a librarian, currently enrolled library science student, or library assistants/support staff/paralibrarians with an experienced library professional who is a member of SELA.
The experienced library professional will provide guidance and leadership through modeling and fostering collaboration between a librarian, library science student, or library assistant/support staff/paralibrarians.
The mentee will develop a better understanding of SELA, its organization and committee structure, and how they function.
The mentor will educate the mentee on how SELA is organized and what the different committees are involved in.
The mentee will gain an understanding of the importance of volunteerism and being involved in a professional organization.
Within 3 months, the mentor and mentee will develop a time-line to accomplish specific professional goals that both agree on.Goal #4
The mentee will become involved in the leadership of SELA.Objective #1
The mentee will become involved in a SELA Committee.
The mentee will eventually become a committee chair and run for a leadership office.
Membership and Mentoring Committee
What is the role of the Membership and Mentoring Committee?
- Recruit mentors.
- Develop criteria to match mentors and mentees.
- Evaluate the goals and objectives of the mentor and mentee.
- Match mentor and mentee.
- Train new mentors.
- Encourage and support leadership development for librarians within the SELA organization.
- Write a brief guide designed to help new mentor/mentee understand the mentoring program.
- Design an application form requesting relevant information in order to help in matching mentor/mentee.
- At the Leadership Conference and Biennial Conference, provide an orientation for new mentors and mentees.
How will the Program be evaluated?
Each pair will define their own goals in a contract at the beginning of the mentoring year. The mentor and mentee will be responsible for evaluating their progress toward meeting the mentor’s/mentee’s goals and objectives. The Chair of the Membership and Mentoring Committee will provide support by checking with the mentor and mentee, and offering resources when they are needed. In addition, the Chair of the Membership and Mentoring Committee will ask the mentor and mentee to evaluate the program to see if it is successful, either after one year or the optional second year of the program.
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