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Professional Development

Mentor Guidelines

If you are interested in becoming or are already an MLA mentor—Thank you! Being an MLA mentor is rewarding for mentors and mentees and is an important part of career development. MLA mentors are also elibible for academy points for their advice and guidance. The guidelines below give you an idea of the responsibilites of MLA mentorship.

Mentor to provisional members of the academy

  • Contact provisional member annually to ensure completion of eight hours of sponsored instruction for provisional renewal
  • Continually review future goals to assist in progression to next academy level
  • Remind the provisional member that with five years’ experience the provisional member must upgrade to the Member or Senior Member level to remain in the academy
  • Assist with providing continuing education (CE) opportunities to the provisional member

Mentor to new members of MLA or the profession

  • Encourage new members to attend the annual meeting for CE courses and networking   
  • Promote MLA and the affiliated chapter
  • Educate member about benefits of the academy
  • Promote MLA committees and importance of becoming involved
  • Keep in touch with new member periodically, leaving lines for communication open
  • Provide information, including MLA publications, for professional growth
  • Make certain they have the uniform resource locators (URL) for MLANET

Mentor to those interested in changing to a career in medical librarianship

  • Promote career brochure and career website, including tips sheets and other career information
  • Discuss all possibilities and opportunities regarding medical librarianship (hospital, academic, corporate)
  • Discuss CE opportunities that would benefit the change
  • Promote MLA membership and chapter affiliation
  • Share your own personal and professional experiences, struggles, and triumphs

Mentor to students interested in exploring a career in health sciences librarianship

  • Forge relationships with various library schools in an effort to promote medical librarianship
  • Promote MLA career information including tip sheets available on the MLA career center
  • Encourage students to shadow for a half day or day at a local academic medical center or hospital library
  • Assist students with curriculum choices, if possible
  • Promote CE opportunities available through MLA or various chapters of MLA
  • Promote scholarship opportunities, awards, or grants available through the chapters or MLA
  • Provide assistance for future opportunities in the health care environment
  • Share your own personal and professional experiences, struggles, and triumphs

Mentor or host to library schools students for half-day or full-day visit to a medical library

  • Develop an agenda that ties into the student's professional interest or course focus
  • Arrange a tour of the library
  • Cite as many real-life examples as possible (explaining office politics and organizational culture and how to communicate the value of libraries)
  • Provide access to systems and service demonstrations, as possible
  • Provide packets of materials on the library and MLA
  • Offer good guidance and sound advice

Mentor to a colleague seeking expertise

  • Provide colleague with contact information (i.e. phone, email)
  • Review colleague’s resume and provide suggestions of a course of action
  • Forward professional information about state and chapter meetings, etc.
  • Encourage colleague to join MLA and/or academy, if not a member
  • Provide opportunity for colleague to shadow and work on special projects
  • Assist with academy process by explaining what is required and referring colleagues to the chapter credentialing liaison
  • Coordinate opportunities to meet with colleague for lunch or other time to discuss professional goals and help map out career course
  • Be available to answer questions and help brainstorm solutions
  • Provide information about positions and opportunities for colleague with referrals to noted joblines and websites

Mentor to those wanting assistance with research projects

  • Share your own relevant research experiences, struggles, and triumphs
  • Discuss the mentee’s possible research interests or project(s)
  • Assist the mentee in developing mentorship project goals, a research plan, and a timeline for mentorship milestones and activities
  • Facilitate the mentee’s activities and progress for reaching their stated goals
  • Support the mentee in writing a brief summary of the mentorship project
  • Encourage active networking and professional development to further enhance skills, knowledge, and awareness of current trends

Mentor to future directors

  • Help identify viable candidates for leadership roles in medical libraries
  • Recommend leadership and management courses for mentee
  • Review resume of mentee and provide input and suggestions
  • Assist colleague in creating a career competency profile
  • Provide interview tips and critiques for mentee
  • Refer mentee to other medical librarians who can provide expertise about weak areas of mentee’s background
  • Coach mentee in appropriate leadership development activities

Speaker about medical librarianship at career fairs, conferences, or schools

  • Solicit information about when large-scale annual career fairs, conferences, or school events are held
  • Prepare a calendar of speaking opportunities in your state
  • Recruit others to speak at career events, and compile a list for future reference
  • Schedule event and coordinate other speakers and librarians to participate
  • Prepare presentation suited to audience about medical librarianship
  • Provide MLA recruitment materials and other audience-specific information about the profession
  • Speak about:
    • How and why you became a medical librarian
    • What aspects of medical librarianship are most gratifying and most challenging
    • What education is required; what certifications are available
    • What new technologies are used, and how they affect medical librarianship
    • What the value of professional associations is
    • What the future holds for medical librarianship
    • What the salary structure is like for medical librarians, depending on the type of libraries
    • Be as enthusiastic a possible about medical librarianship
    • Consider preparing a display board providing information on places where medical librarians work and the types of work that they do
  • Bring audiovisuals and candy for the table if displaying at a career fair where booths are assigned