What is the purpose of the KLA Mentoring Program?
The purpose of the KLA Mentoring Program is to foster professional relationships and facilitate the exchange of ideas between Kentucky librarians. The Mentoring Program is also designed to help participants learn more about KLA.

What it is not: a job search program, an arbiter of workplace problems.

Who oversees this program? Who can I contact with questions?
The KLA Mentoring Committee is responsible for creating and updating application forms, program guidelines, and other program content. The committee matches mentors and mentees and evaluates the program at its conclusion each year by collecting feedback.

If you ever feel like the program isn’t working for you, or maybe you would like to have a different mentor, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the Mentoring Committee members. We are here to help make the program responsive to your needs, and all information is kept confidential.

Who can participate?
The only requirement for participation in the Mentoring Program is membership in KLA. All KLA members are welcome to participate at any stage of their careers. For example, librarians who are new to Kentucky, support staff taking on new responsibilities, students interested in finding out more about the profession, and experienced librarians moving into positions with increased administrative functions might all find a mentoring program useful. KLA members at all levels of library experience are invited to share their experiences and expand their professional reach.

How does it work?

Mentors and mentees will fill out an application. Mentors and mentees will be partnered by the Mentoring Committee based on library type and professional experience or goals. The availability of mentors and mentees and the information provided on the applications will determine the partnerships made. The Mentoring Committee will introduce the mentor and mentee to one another via email and will check in periodically with the mentor/mentee partners over the course of the program to be sure things are running smoothly.

Meanwhile, the mentor and mentee are encouraged to contact each other and decide preferences for communication (email? phone? social media?) and frequency of communication. For example, monthly emails may work best for some pairs. The program is meant to be flexible and to be negotiated among the mentee and mentor to best suit their needs. Participants in the Mentoring Program are encouraged to settle on a communication strategy as well as individual goals early on in the program.

At the end of the program, all participants will be asked to participate in a program evaluation.

What can a mentor expect?
Expectations
• Be actively involved for the duration of the program
• Communicate with mentee regularly
• Help mentee establish career-related goals and help mentee develop a plan to achieve them
• Teach, listen, and advise
• Develop a relationship with mentee built on courtesy, confidentiality, and respect
• Introduce mentee to opportunities for service and professional development within KLA
• Provide feedback to the Mentoring Program Committee at least once during the program

Benefits
• Using your professional knowledge and experience to help someone else
• Enhancing skills in coaching and advising
• Developing collegial relationships with KLA members
• Professional pride
• Greater understanding of current professional challenges experienced by others in career transition
• Exposure to new professional practices and ideas

What can a mentee expect?
Expectations
• Be actively involved for the duration of the program
• Communicate with mentor regularly
• Establish career-related goals and work with mentor to develop a plan to achieve them
• Learn, listen, and ask for advice
• Be receptive to receiving unique professional perspectives and solutions from your mentor
• Develop a relationship with mentor built on courtesy, confidentiality, and respect
• Learn more about opportunities within KLA
• Provide feedback to the Mentoring Program Committee at least once during the program

Benefits
• Opportunity to learn from mentor’s knowledge, experience, and perspective
• Assistance with career goals
• Time for professional reflection and self-analysis
• Focus on problem-solving and communication skills
• Developing collegial relationships with KLA members
• Exposure to new professional practices and ideas

How much time is involved?
This program is a one year commitment. In terms of weekly or monthly time allotments, this program is intended to bend to the needs of the matched mentors and mentees. The time involved should be negotiated between mentor and mentee to be mutually satisfactory. As a baseline, we’d suggest communicating once a month, but some may find that more or less contact is preferable.

Mentoring resources
Crumpton, Michael A. 2011. “Mentoring in Tough Financial Times.” Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances 24 (1): 51-54. Freedman, Shin. 2009. “Effective Mentoring.” IFLA Journal 35 (2): 171-82.

Garvin, David A., and Joshua A. Margolis. “The Art of Giving and Receiving Advice.” Harvard Business Review, January-February 2015 (https://hbr.org/2015/01/the-art-of-giving-and-receiving-advice)

Other mentoring programs within ALA: http://www.ala.org/transforminglibraries/mentoring-opportunities