Mentoring Program

Applications for the 2020-2021 cohort are ongoing and will be accepted through June 1, 2020. Pairs will begin their work together in August and will conclude by the beginning of February 2021. 

What is the ARLIS/NA Chapter Mentoring Program?

The Chapter Mentoring Program is structured in a similar way to the yearlong career mentoring program, except mentor and mentee pairs are matched regionally by chapter, and the program lasts six months. Initial training will be conducted virtually through a recorded presentation of the same training workshop used at the annual conference for the career mentoring program. Regular communication prompts for pairs will be initiated by the Chapter Mentoring Liaison, who will also work with the Mentoring Subcommittee to facilitate productive mentoring relationships. Pairs are responsible for goal-setting, regular communication, and setting and attending meetings.

Who can participate in Chapter mentoring?

If you are a Midstates member, you’re eligible! Whether you’ve been in the profession for twenty years or two years, you can benefit from sharing your perspective with another colleague as a mentor or mentee. All members are encouraged to participate.

Participants need to be able to commit an hour or two each month for the course of six months. Mentoring requires a regular commitment, planning, and initiative. A mentoring relationship must be cultivated by both mentor and mentee.

Applications from prospective mid-career mentees are highly encouraged, as are applications from senior level mentors.

How does the program work?

Those who wish to participate will fill out an application.

Your chapter mentoring liaison will match applicants based on like interests.

Each pair will be directed to training materials–a recorded workshop and a few handouts that discuss:

  • what mentoring means
  • setting professional goals and goals for the relationship
  • roles and responsibilities for mentors and mentees
  • how to communicate with each other (e.g., using non-directive language)
  • tips for creating a successful mentoring relationship
  • suggestions for discussion topics (e.g., ethics, professionalism, professional development, etc.)

Upon setting goals, each mentor/mentee pair communicates with each other once a month on mutually agreed upon topics. This is self-directed.

As in the yearlong career mentoring program, the Mentoring subcommittee and the chapter liaison will check in with the pairs periodically to ensure their communication is on track and to recommend readings.

Mentors and mentees are always welcome to contact a member of the Mentoring subcommittee or their liaison to seek assistance.

When is this happening?

Applications will be accepted through June 1, 2020 and the program will begin on August 1, 2020.

The program will end on February 1, 2021.

Monthly communication is typical. Communication might be more frequent if the mentee is going through a particularly challenging transitional period.


Given the current situation, meetings will be virtual. But the good news is that we are all very used to virtual meetings! Hopefully at the end of the program, pairs who are geographically close can also meet in person, if they like.

Why should you participate?

For mentees:

  • To build a relationship with a more experienced ARLIS/NA member.
  • To have someone within ARLIS/NA who takes interest in your development as a librarian and who will offer you honest feedback as you negotiate professional challenges.

For mentors:

  • To feel good about fulfilling part of your professional responsibility.
  • To keep current with the latest technologies and theories, learning from your mentee’s experience and interests.
  • To enjoy a rare opportunity for self-reflection: by taking the time to share your experiences and perspectives with another individual you learn about yourself.
  • To be vital. ARLIS/NA can never have too many mentors. There are many eager mentees and not enough mentors to go around.


  • Healthy organizations encourage mentoring because it builds future leaders.

Is there a difference between the Chapter Mentoring Program and the Yearlong Career Mentoring Program?

Chapter mentoring does not require attendance at the annual conference workshop. Instead, participants will be given access to training materials online and are expected to review them themselves. This means that chapter mentoring participants do not engage in role playing exercises, group discussions, and may not necessarily meet their partners face to face. They also may just be members of their chapter and not necessarily the larger organization.

While the mentoring subcommittee will check in on the chapter mentoring liaison, it is expected that chapter mentoring program pairs will be more self-directed. 

What people are saying about their experience in the yearlong career mentoring program:

I cannot think of a more positive experience than what I have shared with Martha. Martha’s kindness, encouragement, and willingness to go out of her way to answer my questions… has been the most useful to me — Virginia Allison (Mentee 2008-2009)

We communicate well. We are on opposite coasts and almost opposite ends of our careers — but I think that we are capable of building a bridge that can connect those gaps. — Martha Walker (Mentor 2008-2009)

Alyssa has a lot of demands on her time, but she was very good about setting aside an hour or so to talk to me on the phone. We did communicate through e-mail, but most of our intense communication was by phone. We had about 4 – 5 phone calls throughout the year. I thought that the phone calls were helpful. Our in person meeting at the Boston conference was very worthwhile. -Beverly Mitchell (Mentee 2009-2010)

Our phone calls were always at least one hour. Even though I was the mentor I was also challenged and learned a few things about myself. I was often asked questions about my management style and had never really had to talk about that so it helped me really think about my methods and how I react to problems and issues. –Alyssa Resnick (Mentor 2009-2010)

ARLIS/NA and Mentoring

The ARLIS/NA Subcommittee on Mentoring seeks to facilitate mentoring among members by pairing individuals and providing them with the tools and support they need to carry out a successful mentoring relationship.

Both the mentor and mentee benefit from a successful relationship.

  • Mentors provide mentees support, insight, and expertise.
  • Mentees offer mentors information about emerging professional trends, technologies, a renewed enthusiasm for issues in arts librarianship, and new perspectives.

We believe  that mentoring is not only valuable for the mentor and mentee, but for ARLIS/NA as a whole. A healthy organization supports mentoring to ensure that individuals coming up in the profession are well-positioned to carry out the goals of the organization.

Ready to apply? Fill out this application by June 1.