How to Apply

Mentors and soon-to-be mentees can apply anytime via the online application. Admission is rolling.

Training Materials

Program Outline

Once you have taken some time to review the training materials, you and your partner should set up a time to talk. See below for suggestions for the first conversation. It is expected that each pair will communicate about once a month for a year, but each pair may determine their own schedule for communication. While the content of these discussions is up to you, the Mentoring Subcommittee does recommend that both the mentor and mentee spend some time preparing for these discussions. One partner (often the mentee) will want to send the other a rough agenda or topic for discussion beforehand.

The Mentoring Subcommittee is always available should you have any questions or concerns. Our correspondence with you is strictly confidential.

The Mentoring Subcommittee will be in touch about five times during the year following this approximate schedule:

  1. A month after you have been paired to check in and make sure you have reviewed the training material, have had an initial discussion with your mentor or mentee, and to see that you have set goals for the year.
  2. A few months in. We will send you a reading that you and your partner may discuss if you choose to.
  3. About halfway through the year to make sure everything is on track.
  4. A couple months later with another suggested reading.
  5. At the end of the year to get feedback from you.

That said, this program is extremely self-directed. Each mentor and mentee pair must negotiate how and when they will communicate and what they will discuss at each meeting. The primary reason mentoring relationships don't succeed is because neither the mentor nor the mentee initiate communication. Whether you are a mentor or a mentee do not be shy about pushing your partner into communicating on a regular basis. All participants have applied to the program because they want to partake in this opportunity.

In the onsite mentor training offered annually at the national conference, the training includes an ice breaker, group discussions, and breakout sessions for role playing activities. Because of the virtual nature of this training, we have deleted from the training DVD all of the exercises. Should you and your partner be interested in these, please contact a member of the Mentoring Subcommittee.

First Meetings

Shortly after both the mentee and mentor have watched the training DVD and reviewed the other training material, set up a time to talk. Suggested topics for this first meeting:

  • Introductions.
    Share a bit of background about where you work and what you do there, your work history as you think necessary, and some history about your relationship to ARLIS and/or other professional organizations.
  • Training DVD.
    Discuss what you thought of the DVD. Were there particular lessons that you found useful or interesting? What were some tips you learned about how to make a mentoring relationship successful? What are a few things Margaret suggested you avoid?
  • Guidelines for Mentors and Mentees.
    Review this handout together. Are you more or less clear about what your respective roles are as mentor and mentee? If not, consider brainstorming some questions you have and sending them to the Mentoring Subcommittee for more guidance.
  • Scheduling and Communication Agreement.
    Fill out your scheduling and communication matrix, so you have a roadmap for future communication.
  • Setting Goals.
    Begin to discuss your goals for the year. In some ways this may be the trickiest part and it is quite natural that your goal for the mentoring program may evolve over the course of the year. But it is important for each pair to discuss the goals for the year so that you have a shared understanding of how to proceed in the relationship. Remember that your professional goals are not necessarily the same as your goals for the mentoring program. For example: a recent graduate's career goal might be to get a job but her goal for the mentoring program might be to get feedback from her mentor on the job search process.

The History of the ARLIS/NA Mentoring Program

In 2004 Heather Gendron, then chair of the ARLIS/NA Professional Development Committee, in response to the Strategic Plan of 2000-2005 appointed a task force to review the Society's needs for mentoring.

For the complete report see the Fall 2005 issue of Art Documentation.

In short the report recommended that ARLIS/NA develop a mentorship program:

The Task Force recommends that ARLIS/NA adopt a mentoring program, either formal or informal. A pilot program, to be implemented at the Banff conference in 2006, was proposed to the ARLIS/NA Executive Board at its mid-year meeting in July 2005. A simultaneous survey of past participants in the annual conference mentoring program and other ARLIS/NA members will be used to solicit information. The former will be quite helpful as the Society discusses types of mentoring programs, and their potential challenges and benefits, while the latter will determine interest in mentor and mentee roles, and will provide information on any potential disparity in the numbers of persons attracted to each position.


As co-chairs of the task force and the creators of the inaugural Yearlong Career Mentoring program, V. Heidi Hass and Tony White, were instrumental in developing the mentoring structure and pedagogy that we continue to use today.

The Training DVD and the Banff Workshop

The training DVD is a condensed version of the inaugural mentoring workshop, which served as the catalyst for the first Yearlong Career Mentoring Program. The workshop which took place at the annual conference in Banff in 2006 was led by Margaret Law, Associate Director of Libraries at University of Alberta Libraries. Margaret is a published author on the topic of managerial communication and oral tradition, including mentorship.

For the purposes of the virtual mentoring program we have edited out all of the exercises from the Banff program.