UMass Amherst Libraries Mentoring Program
The mentor’s primary responsibility is to be available to answer questions from and provide feedback to the mentee, as well as to make contact with the mentee every 4-6 weeks. Other suggested activities include:
• Introduce a new librarian to the library, campus and Five Colleges locations, programs, committees and people
• Help navigate the library’s organizational culture
• Provide guidance on the annual performance review and promotion
• Assist with establishing of contacts for professional development and service in one’s subject/administrative specialty
• Provide guidance on drafting sabbatical proposals and writing sabbatical reports
Tips for Mentors
From ACRL Instruction Section Mentoring Program Mentor Tip Sheet
1. Keep communications open. Contact your mentee as soon as you receive his or her name. Tell the mentee a bit about yourself, professionally and personally. Listen carefully and ask questions for clarification, when needed. Be practical when sending out messages and reply promptly to messages sent to you.
2. Define expectations. Establish clear expectations and ground rules at the onset of the mentoring relationship.
3. Take initiative and be an active participant. Be proactive in all aspects of the mentoring relationship. Be sensitive to the needs of your mentee and offer your feedback/advice/counsel, but also feel free to introduce new ideas and opportunities to the mentee. The most effective mentor-mentee relationships are built on mutual learning, so be open and alert to what you can learn from the mentee. Collaborate on projects, ask questions, experiment, have fun.
4. Be supportive. Establish realistic goals, suggest courses, encourage conference participation, and help create a solid career plan. Be supportive, but set clear boundaries.
5. Be available / accessible. Be available to talk with the mentee, answer questions, and provide advice. Look ahead and let your mentee know if you will be unavailable for extended periods of time. Whenever possible, meet face to face (e.g. at conferences or other professional venues) for more in-depth discussions.
6. Be reliable and consistent. Demonstrate to your mentee that you are consistent, dependable, and trustworthy. Gain your mentee’s trust and your mentee will rely on you for help.
7. Be prepared to offer honest feedback. Be truthful in your evaluations but also be tactful.
8. Be innovative and creative. Share your ideas, give advice, and be a resource for new ideas.
9. Be aware of cultural diversity. Value the diverse economic, cultural, religious, and/or other unique traits and perspectives of your mentee. Remember that people come from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Get to know your mentee as an individual.
10. Be positive. Recognize the work the mentee has done and the progress they have made. Emphasize areas where the thinking has been clear, complete, and creative. Encourage him/her to move forward in these areas.
11. Be ethical. Consistently act in ways that are ethical; uphold the law and professional codes of conduct.
12. Respect confidentiality. Keep conversations between you and your mentee private and confidential
Ways to Engage
At our 2016 Annual Mentoring Celebration, participants shared some ways they kept their mentoring meetings interesting:
- Walking meetings - visiting various places and areas on campus
- Lunch meetings
- At the University Club (possible interaction with faculty is an added bonus)
- Visiting various lunch places in the Amherst area
Tips for Mentees
From ACRL Instruction Section Mentoring Program, Mentee Tip Sheet
1. Keep communications open. Your mentor will initiate the first communication, but feel free to contact him or her as topics or questions arise. Tell your mentor about yourself, professionally and personally (your experience, interests, etc). Be comfortable talking with your mentor: be yourself, listen carefully, and ask lots of questions. Let your mentor know about your communication style, your comfort level, and how to motivate you.
2. Define expectations. Establish clear ground rules and expectations for time commitments and the scope of this mentoring relationship at the onset of the mentoring relationship. Discuss your goals for this mentorship with your mentor at the very beginning, and seek your mentor’s feedback on these goals. This will help maximize the efficiency of the mentorship.
3. Take initiative and be an active mentee. Be proactive in all aspects of the mentoring relationship. Listen carefully to your mentor’s advice, but also feel free to introduce new ideas. Ask for and learn about your mentor’s personal experiences. Feel comfortable asking your mentor anything within the bounds of the mentorship: no question is silly.
4. Accept support. Your mentor will help you to establish realistic goals, suggest courses, and encourage participation. Work together to set clear boundaries in this supportive pairing.
5. Be available / accessible. Look ahead and let your mentor know if you will be unavailable for extended periods of time. Whenever possible, meet face to face (e.g. at conferences or other professional venues) for more in-depth discussions. Be flexible in meeting on your mentor’s schedule. Be punctual: arrive at your meetings on time and prepared. Your mentor is generously giving you their time, make the most of it.
6. Be reliable and consistent. Demonstrate to your mentor that you are consistent, dependable, and are a valuable investment of their time and energy. Gain your mentor’s trust while giving them yours, and rely on your mentor for help.
7. Be prepared to accept honest feedback. Be open to our conversations and comfortable asking questions. Do not feel like you must impress your mentor. Make certain your mentor is familiar with your strengths, interests and skills. Give your mentor feedback and recognize the contributions and help your mentor has given you.
8. Be innovative and creative. Share your ideas and be a resource for new ideas.
9. Respect confidentiality. Keep conversations between you and your mentor is private and confidential. Make sure this expectation for confidentiality is clear and reciprocal: your mentor must also feel confident in you maintaining confidentiality.
10. Help your mentor help you. Remember that mentoring relationships are reciprocal: this relationship will be valuable for your mentor as well. The most effective mentor-mentee relationships are built on mutual learning, so be open and alert to what your mentor can learn from this pairing. Ask questions, experiment, have fun.
11. Address misunderstandings as they arise. Communicate problems, issues, and misunderstandings within the relationship directly with your mentor in a timely fashion.
12. Contact the Mentoring Committee with any questions or concerns during the mentorship.
- Last Updated: Nov 8, 2023 1:19 PM
- URL: https://guides.library.umass.edu/mentoring
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