Analyses of Mentoring Expectations, Activities, and Support in Canadian Academic Libraries

Marni R. Harrington, Elizabeth Marshall

Abstract

Mentoring expectations, activities, and support in Canadian college and university libraries were investigated by surveying 332 recent MLIS graduates, practicing academic librarians, and library administrators. Findings indicate that the presence of a mentoring program will help attract new librarians, retain them, and aid in restructuring efforts that are currently facing many academic libraries. Preferred mentoring activities include those belonging to psychosocial support, career guidance, and role modeling themes. Other results find that librarians who were mentored as new librarians, have more than 10 years of experience, and work in large academic institutions are significantly more likely to mentor others. Although currently not well-supported by academic administrators, this research shows that mentoring programs could be sustainable. Mentoring improves the professional experience for librarians who are more satisfied and engaged with their careers, which in turn benefits the organization with less turnover. Practical information from this research will guide academic library practitioners in current mentoring relationships, and library leaders can extrapolate results to support planning and implementation of mentoring programs. Implications for LIS education are also discussed.

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Copyright ©2014 Marni R. Harrington and Elizabeth Marshall, Attribution-NonCommercial (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) CC BY-NC


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