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ROB BREMER MEGAN LOWE MIKE MATTHEWS Starting a Mentorship Program for Academic Librarians.

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Presentation on theme: "ROB BREMER MEGAN LOWE MIKE MATTHEWS Starting a Mentorship Program for Academic Librarians."— Presentation transcript:

1 ROB BREMER MEGAN LOWE MIKE MATTHEWS Starting a Mentorship Program for Academic Librarians

2 Who We Are Rob Bremer: LLA Academic Libraries Section Liaison with ACRL-LA  User Services Librarian, Louisiana Tech University Library Megan Lowe: Chair, Mentoring Committee  Reference Librarian, University of Louisiana at Monroe Mike Matthews: President, ACRL-LA  Information Literacy/Online Learning Services Librarian, Northwestern State University of Louisiana

3 PART ONE Lessons Learned from Assessment

4 Our Work to Date…LLA 2008 Introduction of the “mentorship idea” at LLA March 2008 Review of the Literature  Formalized mentorship programs exist in large academic library settings (Carnegie I or II)  Over-represented because of high profile institutions Summative evaluations Formative evaluations Successful Mentee = Job Security  Smaller academic libraries  Variety of approaches, but mostly informal

5 Our Work to Date…Environmental Scan ACRL has programs for supporting new library managers/administrators…but not rank and file librarians The Medical Library chapter-wide mentorship program  Centrally organized but informal  New librarians are paired with more knowledgeable colleagues  Database of prospective mentees/mentors  Six-hour mentorship seminar for interested members

6 Our Work to Date…Organizational Convened two meetings of the ACRL-LA Executive Council (March 26 and June 18)  Decisions:  Who do we want to reach with this program?  For whose benefit is this program being created?  Whose blessings must we secure? (AKA: How do not ruffle the feathers of any Big Birds?)  What are the baseline expectations of this program?

7 Déjà-vu All Over Again?

8 Mentorship and the SLIS Students (2003) Is it time for history to repeat itself?

9 Our Work to Date…the Survey Partially modeled on the South Central Chapter of MLA mentorship survey of 2004  For both mentors and mentees  Length of Service  Motivations of participants of mentors/mentees  Interests of prospective mentors and mentees  Define the viability and goals of the mentorship program  Do they already participate as a mentor/mentee at their home institution? Is it an effective program?  What are their common career goals and aspirations?  Are they able to perform the tasks of a mentor or mentee?

10 Concerns Would the success of the MLA chapter translate into results for Louisiana?  How would the success of a mentorship program be measured?  Academic librarians do not require CEUs (Continuing Education Units) to proceed in their career tracks.  Academic librarians must know a more generalized body of knowledge than medical librarians.

11 Working Hypotheses Older librarians will be retiring at an alarming rate; 79% will retire by 2024 Younger librarians need guidance in the cultures and philosophies of the academic librarian profession Older librarians will want to share their knowledge with their younger colleagues Younger librarians could (should?) learn how to perform complex tasks on the job; an older librarian’s guidance could be the solution Librarians, regardless of age, are interested in improving their skills

12 Majority Do Not Have Mentorship Program

13 An Experienced Workforce

14 With a Strong Sense of Professionalism…

15 Who Want to Help

16 And Who Need Skilled Colleagues…

17 But who are too busy or feel they don’t know enough to be of assistance. (Huh?)

18 What the Survey Data Tells Us… 66% of respondents have 5 or more years of experience  Yet, 37% do not believe they are experienced enough to be mentors  And, 37% are simply “too busy” to be a mentor 50% of respondents want to be a mentor  Only 15% (6) want to have a mentor  Yet, 61% would like to participate in a continuing education opportunity directed to mentees

19 Is There a Connection Here?

20 Kirkland, Janice. The Missing Women Library Directors: Deprivation versus Mentoring C&RL July 1997

21 Grooming Model

22 When grooming goes bad…

23 Peer Networking Model

24 So What Can We Do? Investigate further (i.e. continue to annoy respondents with more surveys) Greater specificity Correlative Cross-sectional Conduct focus groups either in-person, online or via conference call Quick, actionable data Coordinate activities with LALINC Directors and SLIS Broaden support network Eliminate redundant efforts

25 Start Here

26 Plan for the Future

27 Future Assessments Mentorship Commitment Inventory  Auditing of interest and effort by mentors  To provide a trusting relationship  To teach mentees skills  To guide mentees in decision-making and reflection (i.e. active listening)  Auditing of interest and effort by mentees  To learn new skills  To participate in mentor/mentee programming  To collaborate with Mentors in providing service to the profession

28 Future Assessments Demographics  Age, sex, length of service, number of years as a state resident, years until retirement Career information  First or second career librarians? (Maybe third?)  Transitions  Moving to management?  Deciding to specialize? Expertise (you would like to share)  Reference  Cataloging/Systems  Management/Administration  Instruction  Outreach/Publicity/Marketing

29 Timeline to Completion 05/10: Assessment of Success 12/09: Preliminary Assessment of Success 8/09: Program is launched 5/09: Demographics, Career, and Expertise Survey 1/09: Mentorship Commitment Inventory

30 Possible Outcomes Results may show…  We don’t need a “formal” mentorship program  We need a mentorship program, but one which is peer- based and flexible.  We don’t need a mentorship program in any form. If there is not a significant need for a statewide mentorship program, we still have accumulated data to guide our chapter’s other initiatives!

31 Assessing our Success Qualitative Data  Anonymous questionnaires  Deployed on secure website with passwords  Open-ended questions requiring essay responses Quality of relationship Quality of feedback Reflection on “lessons learned” Quantitative Data Rating of mentor/mentee Rating of interest in program Comparison of initial intentions with final outcomes

32 What could be the long-term benefits of a mentoring program?


34 M.A.L.D.E.N.?

35 PART TWO Beyond Thunderdome: Meta-Analysis and Aftermath

36 What Were We Thinking? LOUIS (and, by extension, LUC) and LLA were great venues for learning…but academic librarians needed more venues for academic library scholarship and assistance with academic library concerns (beyond SIRSI, etc.) There seemed to be a lot of new academic librarians in the state who might need help ACRL-LA seemed the logical answer to fill in the gap between LOUIS and LLA, and the logical solution to the needs of new academic librarians

37 What Were We Thinking? The ACRL-LA Executive Council decided that the best way to gather information about the needs of new librarians (and the need for a mentoring program) was a survey A committee, with several task forces, was formed; one task force developed the survey

38 Side Effects Include… Along the way, we revamped our website  Online forms for membership led to…  Online forms for our pre-conference workshop! Developed an online forum wherein we discuss issues and concerns (vs. doing it all via email and filling up inboxes) Learned about the skills and strengths of our membership, which produce great resources

39 Aftermath: Ch-ch-changes! The target group, new librarians, has changed to librarians in transition The structure is changing from mentor-mentee to peer-colleague The purpose is even changing: in the beginning was pure mentorship, now we’re also looking at continuing education opportunities

40 Identifying Our Next Steps More surveys (follow-up) Bulldozing ahead Establishing “duties” or guidelines for mentors/peers Contacting deans & the library managers interest group Identify areas of interest for continuing education opportunities for academic librarians

41 What Do We Do Now? Re-evaluate our purpose and our mission Gain a better understanding of the needs of librarians in the state Focus on providing continuing education  We are able to still help librarians…  …and in non-library ways! Creating and maintaining resources as the mentoring program evolves and develops

42 Still Up for Debate Format  Casual vs. formal?  Directory of Experts?  FAQ? Name of mentors/mentees  “Mentees”?  “Peer-Mentees”?  “Mentors”?  “Peer-Mentor”?  “Professional friend”?  “Grasshoppa”? (just kidding)

43 Challenges | Problems | Obstacles Hurricanes (that’s a big one) Resolving the aforementioned debatable topics Size of the committee: needs to be larger Getting started (re-beginning the beginning) Interest? Need? Desire? Variables (people, people-resources, resources, resources for people, etc.) Information & Interest

44 Definite Outcomes Planning more workshops like our Pre-LUC workshop, “Publish & Flourish: Writing for Academic Librarians” Focusing on technology-oriented workshops, covering such topics as Flash, Camtasia, and Moodle Pursuing our vision of a mentorship program, but adapting as new information becomes available via follow-up surveys

45 What Can You Do? Join ACRL-LA!  If you’re a member of ACRL, you’re automatically a member of ACRL-LA  If you aren’t a member of ACRL and you would like to join ACRL-LA, it’s just $20 – see our website for membership information  Volunteer to serve on the mentorship committee  Volunteer to be a mentor/peer friend/whatever  Don’t be afraid to be a mentee/grasshoppa/whatever

46 What Can You Do? Take our surveys – the information you provide is crucial to our understanding of academic librarians in the state of Louisiana, even beyond mentorship Don’t be afraid to contact us with concerns, ideas, recommendations, suggestions – we *WANT* to hear from you!

47 PART THREE Sharing the Mentoring Vision: the Louisiana Library Association

48 Sharing the Mentoring Vision: A Timeline Until in/about 2000, LLA had a New Members Round-Table, with a nebulous mentoring program for new librarians … at least an at- Conference pairing of new librarians with established ones, which may or may not have sustained a continuing relationship between the two librarians. Since the disbanding of NMRT, LLA has from time to time “kicked around” the idea of establishing a formal mentoring program … without any movement forward.

49 A Timeline On March 6, 2008, as the 2008 LLA Conference came to a close, the President-Elect challenged the LLA Membership to establish a program for bringing librarians-in-training and new librarians into LLA and to encourage them to stay with the Association and participate in its sections, interest groups, conferences, programs, and projects.

50 A Timeline On June 23, 2008, the Co-Coordinators of the LLA Library Managers Interest Group pointed the Group toward the 2008-09 year and asked all to consider, in cooperation with the Academic and Public Library Sections:  heading up the creation and maintenance of a mentoring program for new library managers and  assisting in the creation and maintenance of a mentoring program for new librarians.

51 A Timeline On July 17, 2008, the LLA Academic Libraries Section Liaison with ACRL-LA  received a general listserv reminder from the ACRL-LA President that “ACRL-LA is currently working on building a state-wide mentorship program for academic librarians … to provide a network of support, encouragement, and continuing education for all librarians, especially those who are new to the profession”

52 A Timeline On July 17, 2008, the LLA Academic Libraries Section Liaison with ACRL-LA  remembered that the Louisiana Library Network had issued a call for presenters at the October LOUIS Users Conference, including ones on “Starting a Mentoring Program for New Librarians,” and  suggested to the ACRL President that, through its members who wear both ACRL-LA and LALINC hats, ACRL-LA might want to make a LUC presentation on its nascent mentorship program, with the result that….

53 A Timeline ACRL-LA and LLA Academic Libraries joined in the making of such a presentation…today’s presentation!

54 A Timeline On August 27-28, 2008, the LLA Academic Libraries Section and Library Managers Interest Group linked up with the 2008-09 LLA Membership Committee, which had begun discussion of how “a mentoring program would help in getting new librarians to join LLA”….

55 A Timeline ….to begin planning how representatives from LLA Academic Libraries, Membership, Public Libraries, School Libraries, and Library Managers could unite, plan, and propose to the LLA Executive Board…

56 A Timeline “a considered, continuing program for the mentoring of Louisiana librarians (both those new to the profession and those who have been promoted and/or moved to new positions), to begin as soon as possible (perhaps as early as January) and be managed by the Membership Committee (whose mission is to encourage Louisiana librarians to join and remain in LLA),” including coordination with ACRL-LA “an effort to avoid duplicate, competing programs as concerns Louisiana's academic libraries”

57 A Timeline On September 8, 2008, today’s presenters met, shared information … including ACRL-LA’s initial finding that two-thirds of its “new” librarians have no interest in a “mentor” … tossed around ideas, and concluded that more information and suggestions are needed to determine  if the Louisiana library community in fact has a need for a mentorship program and  if there is such a need, what should be the nature and scope of such a program.

58 What Can Be Gleaned from the Timeline? Efforts to provide “mentoring” services to librarians are not at all new. A librarian’s need for a mentor arises when her/his library career is in transition as much as when the established librarian is learning a new skill, as when the newly minted librarian is entering the profession.

59 What Can Be Gleaned from the Timeline? A librarian may also on occasion need confidential, unbiased advice in dealing with a workplace issue/crisis not at all connected with any career transition. The terms “mentoring” and “mentor” may be unnecessarily limiting and have a negative connotation for some “mentees,” who may chafe at the suggestion that, though professionals, they still need a “guide” … perhaps, “conferring” and “colleague” are better terms (“Conferring with a Colleague”).

60 What Can Be Gleaned from the Timeline? To be successful, any mentoring/advising program must be:  Need-generated - what do our colleagues need, not what do we think they need  Well-planned - but not so over-planned the program dies from inaction  Realistic - the goal should be to have effective mentoring/advising available when needed – not all mentors/advisors will be engaged all the time (not being busy is a good thing) and not all mentors/advisors will prove helpful (so assign another one)

61 Sharing the Mentoring Vision Such are the issues the Louisiana Library Association is wrestling with as it moves to establish a mentoring/advising program for its members … in league with ACRL-LA.

62 Question & Answer Time!

63 Contacting Us Rob Bremer: Mike Matthews: Megan Lowe: LLA: http://www.llaonline.org ACRL-LA:


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