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Developing your staff in a cross institutional mentoring program

Janette Burke, Monash University and Linda Betts, Linda Betts and Associates

Wednesday 17 September 2014 – Concurrent session 16, 3:30pm to 3:55am


Monash University Library with six other Victorian academic libraries, CAVAL and State Library of Victoria have implemented and completed a cross institutional mentoring program, facilitated by Linda Betts and Associates.

The program originated from a mentoring scheme that was developed and successfully run at Monash University Library in 2010. In 2011 Monash University Library partnered with the State Library of Victoria to broaden the initiative to staff of both organisations, providing opportunities to extend the mutual understanding of and interaction between the two libraries.  The joint program was positively received and at its completion feedback reiterated that one of the key elements to the program’s success was the interaction and building of relationships with other professionals from another institution. In 2013 the program was further developed with input from Linda Betts and Associates, Victorian University Deputy Librarians and CAVAL to include the State Library of Victoria and seven university libraries in Victoria and Tasmania.   A key objective of the cross institutional mentoring program for the organisations is to develop senior and middle level managers as part of a strategy to improve professional development, staff satisfaction and succession opportunities.  A particular emphasis has been placed on developing the people management skills as an extension to high levels of existing technical skills and knowledge.  The joint mentoring program offers an approach to staff development that builds on other opportunities such as formal training but in a manner that provides one to one support. Expressions of interest were received from forty eight mentors and mentees sixty mentees. A working group with representatives from each institution along with the consultant, Linda Betts was established. The group matched forty mentors and mentees from across all institutions, except Tasmania. The group also developed three networking workshops to support and engage with the mentors and mentees throughout the seven month program.  The networking workshops include a panel of guest speakers discussing their experiences on topics such as career progression, the future of libraries and leaderships styles.

The cross institutional program was completed in November 2013 and a report on the outcomes and benefits of the program to the 2014 ALIA Conference will be important step in continuing to broaden the program, encourage further participation in the program, and to encourage others to set up a staff mentoring program. 

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