December 2, 2020
By Nancy Adams
It’s time to reflect on the 2020 Peer Mentorship Program and to kick off participation for 2021! The 2020 cohort was special because we tried something new: Rather than having specific mentor and mentee roles, the focus was on peer mentor relationships. Keep reading to learn about how it went, and how to get involved with the next cohort.
The 2020 Cohort – Peer Mentorship in an Unprecedented Time
In 2020, the Library Publishing Coalition Professional Development Committee continued the LPC Peer Mentorship Program after a successful pilot launch in 2019. The goals for the Mentorship Program are twofold: to orient participants to the LPC, encouraging them to build relationships and get involved; and to facilitate professional mentorship around library publishing.
Activities of the program included a virtual getting-to-know you meeting to kick things off, continuing with monthly calls and email correspondence between peer pairs. Participants were provided with a list of suggested questions to help start their mentor/mentee relationship and were then encouraged to continue the discussions in whatever direction was most desirable for the partners.
Unfortunately, the pandemic prevented pairs from meeting in person at the Library Publishing Forum as planned, but an opportunity for a casual meetup in the form of the Peer Mentorship-around took place at the first-ever virtual Forum. During the “-around” participants had a chance to reflect on the Mentorship Program and chat about unexpected aspects of shifting to an online environment for, well, everything. We regretted not getting to see participants in person, but it was nice to check in while enjoying our favorite end-of-day beverage.
After the Forum, mentors were encouraged to fill out a mid-year survey to assess the program and provide feedback. We got some great insights on how to make the program even better for future cohorts. More on that below.
The 2020 cohort is currently wrapping up their participation, and their reception of this program has been positive. Participants of the second year had many good things to share, including the following:
“This year has been so challenging for us all, and it’s been really helpful to have an empathetic and supportive colleague to connect with on a regular basis. Talking with my peer mentor about how we’re each dealing with these incredibly difficult situations at our home institutions has been reassuring, not just because we are sharing knowledge and coping strategies, but knowing that someone else is up against the same obstacles I’m facing really helps me feel like we are tackling them together in some small way. Even if we work at different institutions in different countries!” – Sonja Betz, University of Alberta
“I am so grateful to be a participant in the LPC Mentorship Program and to have been paired with the most wonderful mentor. Library Publishing is really in its infancy in Ireland and membership of the LPC has enabled access to a great body of knowledge and community of practice. The Mentorship Program has provided the opportunity to learn from a highly experienced and knowledgeable practitioner in a relaxed and intimate environment. My mentor has been very encouraging and I have become more involved with the community as a result. I really feel that I have made a lifelong friend through this process and I am extremely grateful to the LPC Mentorship Program for matching us together.” – Jane Buggle, Dublin Business School
“I have found the peer mentorship calls to be especially useful during COVID since it’s been even more difficult to connect with colleagues in-person and through professional conferences.” – Janet Swatscheno, University of Illinois at Chicago
Interested in being a peer mentor in 2021?
In response to another successful pilot year, the LPC Professional Development Committee will be offering the program again, with a continued focus on peer mentor relationships. Based on participant feedback, the Committee will aim to achieve more goal-oriented partnerships, and we’ll play a more active and continued role in providing discussion guidance. We hope to welcome many more members into the 2021 LPC Peer Mentorship Program!
Timeline for 2021 Cycle:
- Applications out now! (Don’t worry, we’ll remind you again about applications in early January! We’ll be accepting applications through January 22, 2021.)
- Matching: We’ll match you with your new Peer Mentor by February 1, 2021.
- Orientation: Participants will receive instructions and orientation materials in early February.
- Library Publishing Forum Virtual Conference May 10-14
- The LPC Professional Development Committee will host a meet-up for participants.
- More throughout your time in the program!
- Attend special mentorship calls hosted by the Professional Development Committee (topics and schedule TBD)
- Discussion topic suggestions (monthly)
- Mid-year (6-months) survey
- Post-cycle (12-months) cohort evaluation with exit survey
Apply for the 2021 LPC Peer Mentor Program now!
LPC Professional Development Committee
Amanda Hurford, PALNI (Chair)
Chelsea Johnston, University of Florida
Allison Brown, SUNY Geneseo
Melanie Kowalski, Emory University
Erin Jerome, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Liz Hamilton, Northwestern University
Emily Stenberg, Washington University in St. Louis