Mentorship Program

The Middle East Librarians’ Association recognizes the importance of mentoring in successful career development in Middle East Librarianship, and is launching a mentorship program. Please read the guidelines and goals below and complete the appropriate application below if interested in participating.

Guidelines:

Any MELA member, new or continuing, is eligible to participate in the one-to-one Mentorship Program, either as a mentor or an advisee. Student members pursuing a library science degree are strongly encouraged to participate as advisees. The Program is intended to assist the advisee to acquire the skills needed to begin or advance on a career path in Middle East studies librarianship with the help of a trusted and experienced individual acting as a friend, advisor, coach, guide, teacher or role model. Each pairing (mentor/advisee) will generally last for 12-18 months. It is the goal of the program that at the end of the formal mentorship the relationship will continue as colleagues.  Anyone interested in participating in the Mentorship Program should contact the Mentorship Coordinator. The Mentorship Coordinator will be selected on a rotating basis from the membership of the Committee on Education by the MELA Executive Board.

Goals:

  • Ensure new librarians feel welcomed and supported as they begin their careers.
  • Provide students pursuing library science degrees with support and guidance as they prepare for transition to professional work.
  • Gain job seeking and career development skills.
  • Fulfill continuing professional development.
  • Network with more experienced members of the profession.
  • Foster collegiality by encouraging all librarians to participate in the mentoring program and thereby share their knowledge and expertise.
  • Encourage librarians to stay in the profession.

Acceptance to serve as a mentor to another colleague is a serious responsibility not to be taken lightly. A modest commitment of dedicated time is required initially. The relationship between mentor and advisee ultimately is what both parties make it. Successful service as a personal mentor is a significant contribution to the profession.

There may be instances where a mentor relationship with an advisee is not felt to be proceeding in a satisfactory manner by either party. If either a mentor or advisee doesn’t feel that their pairing is working well, he or she should contact the Mentorship Coordinator. In such instances either party may, at any time and without prejudice, request assignment of a new personal mentor.

Definitions:

What is a mentor?

A mentor is an experienced counselor and trusted advisor; it is someone who can provide guidance and support to a new librarian, a developing professional or a library science student. The mentor answers questions, advises, helps identify options, possible courses of actions, shares information on successful patterns others have followed, helps make connections with others who may be able to offer insights and shows an advisee the many opportunities for involvement in MELA.

Qualifications

Mentors (employed or retired) should have had at considerable (more than 10 years in most cases) experience in the profession, leadership experiences, possess coaching/teaching and interpersonal communication skills, genuine interest and commitment to help and preferably have also access to professional networks. Mentoring involves being a good listener, a thoughtful advisor and a role model. A mentor needs to have a sincere interest in helping others who are new to the profession of Middle East librarianship.

Expectations

Mentors are expected to make initial contact with their advisees (by telephone or electronic). Mentors should arrange to meet face to face with their advisees at least once during the MELA annual meeting, preferably at the beginning of the conference. At this meeting, the mentor should expect to answer questions, give guidance or just to listen. A mentor serves as informal personal guidance counselor and confidant who can help identify options, possible courses of actions and share information on successful patterns others have followed. Some things that you might want to discuss with your advisee are their interests, how to become involved in MELA and how to get the most from the sessions and workshops. While it is not necessary to commit to spending all of your time with your advisee, it is important to touch base occasionally during the annual meeting.

Benefits for mentors:

  • Contribute to the profession by helping to develop future leaders.
  • Gain leadership and communication skills.
  • Grow and learn from the experience.

What is an advisee?

An advisee is generally a librarian who is new to the profession (less than 5 years on the job), to MELA, a library science student or a first-time annual meeting attendee.

Qualifications

An advisee is a MELA member who seeks guidance and advice from professionally experienced colleagues.

Expectations

An advisee will be contacted by the assigned mentor. The advisee is expected to communicate her/his own goals and/or information about what she/he hopes to achieve or gain. The advisee should arrange to meet face to face with the mentor at least once during the annual meeting, preferably at the beginning of the conference. This meeting is an opportunity for the advisee to ask questions, receive guidance, and get to know the mentor. Some things that you might want to discuss with your mentor are your professional interests, how to get the most from the sessions and workshops you attend, and how to become involved in MELA. Don’t be shy about asking to be introduced to other colleagues and Board members. While it is not necessary to commit to spending all of your time with your mentor, feel free to touch base with her/him occasionally.

Benefits for advisees:

  • Receive support and guidance.
  • Meet other professionals; networking opportunities.
  • Develop confidence.
  • Involvement in a professional organization.

Applications:

To be a mentor, complete MELA Mentor Application and send to the Mentorship Coordinator.

To be an advisee, complete MELA Advisee Application and send to the Mentorship Coordinator.

Mentorship Coordinator:

Ali Boutaqmanti
Harvard College Library, Widener Library
Middle Eastern Division, Room S
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
Telephone: 617-495-4310
Fax: 617-496-2902
mentorship.coordinator@mela.us