Rethinking Mentoring: Online, International Peer-Mentoring with the International Librarians Network
The International Librarians Network has published a research report Rethinking mentoring: Online, international peer mentoring with the International Librarians Network that redefines peer mentoring and demonstrates how mentoring programs can be expanded into online, global spaces. The report is based on assessment of the ILN’s highly successful mentoring program, which has included more than 4,500 participants from over 130 countries. The ILN mentoring model is founded on the belief that all participants have something to contribute and something to gain from each other regardless of career stage or sector.
Moving mentoring online opens up quite literally a whole world of new opportunities for mentoring. It allows professionals seeking mentoring to develop partnerships outside their own context without the expense or time of travel. All that is required is an internet connection and a willingness to engage with the process.
The report identifies limitations with both traditional hierarchical and peer mentoring definitions. “Traditional mentoring programs reinforce hierarchical relationships within the profession by their very nature. Strict peer mentoring programs reject the value proposition of those hierarchical relationships but in practice reinforce that hierarchy by an insistence on limiting the relationships to those in equal positions.”
To counter this, the ILN program encourages participants to adopt an open mind about contextual factors such as sector and career stage, and creates opportunity for participants to benefit from matches that emphasise shared interests as the key criteria for matching. In doing so, the ILN has created a new model of mentoring.