The SUNYLA mentoring program was developed to support library school students or early career academic librarians. Mentees are paired with a mentor for a semester or longer.

For students or those new to the profession, the experience provides an opportunity to form professional connections, increase occupational competency, receive guidance on the promotion process, build leadership skills, and apply lessons learned from the classroom.  For the librarians, mentoring provides an opportunity to enrich the educational experience of future librarians and to assist them in understanding the intricacies of the profession.

The mentor/mentee experience

  • Unpaid with no class credit
  • Regular contact is expected, but specifics of the experience are set by the two individuals involved.
  • Guidelines for the mentoring program are broad and open ended to allow mentees and mentors to work out a mutually satisfying relationship.
  • Some mentorships will only involve meetings and discussions between mentor and student. Other mentorships may include assisting with a special project.
  • Parties involved should discuss expectations, frequency of meetings, and goals at the beginning of each mentorship.

Examples of mentoring experiences

  • Assist with instructional classes or a project
  • Shadow librarians in their work (virtually or in-person)
  • Discuss the librarian’s career path and professional development activities in relation to the student’s interests
  • Attend meetings with the librarian
  • Guidance with interview skills, resume and cover letter writing
  • Guidance through the promotion and tenure process
  • Strengthen leadership skills

Need a Mentor?

Anyone interested in being paired with a mentor should fill out the Seeking a Mentor Form. Mentees are expected to be SUNYLA members.

Want to be a Mentor?

Mentors should be SUNYLA members with significant experience in specific areas (e.g. reference and instruction,  cataloging, writing for publication, systems, special collections) of the field of librarianship.

To apply to be a SUNYLA mentor, please fill out the Mentor Profile Form


Contact Jocelyn Ireland at