MLA Institute for Leadership Excellence


The MLA Institute for Leadership Excellence (MILE) Mentor Program is an opportunity for experienced library professionals to share their knowledge and experience with future Minnesota library leaders who attend and participant in MILE. Mentors are matched with participants based on the information provided in the mentor application. On the last day of MILE, mentors and participants meet to begin an 18 month mentorship program.

Application now open: Apply HERE

The Value of Mentoring


  • strengthen the profession by strengthening its future leaders.

  • grow and learn from their relationship with their participants.

  • can improve communication and leadership skills.

  • gain a personal satisfaction from helping others in the library profession.


  • gain valuable knowledge and advice on career goals and professional development.

  • have the opportunity to eliminate or reduce feeling of professional isolation.

  • can expand their professional network.

  • can acquire new skills and confidence in their abilities.

  • are exposed to new opportunities within the professional community.

The Minnesota Library Association…

  • gains an efficient and skilled community of librarians and paraprofessionals.

  • helps foster a community of librarians who focus on lifelong learning and development.

  • helps build and strengthen a statewide professional network.

Where and When Mentor Relationship Begins

MILE Mentors are welcomed to attend one half-day session of the “Leading for Life” conference held at Sugar Lake Lodge in Cohasset, Minnesota on May 10th, 2019.  Mentors and participants try to meet quarterly and commit to an 18-month mentoring relationship. Mentors assist participants with goal-setting, networking, and leadership development.  

Mentor responsibilities

We ask all our mentors that:

  • you commit to an 18-month relationship with your assigned mentee

  • You work with your mentee to understand and help frame their goals

  • You contact your mentee and reach a satisfactory schedule for meetings and goal updates

  • You contact your mentee on an agreed upon schedule. (At least quarterly is recommended.)

Each mentor relationship is unique to the participant’s needs.  The mentor and participant should work to define and develop their particular roles in the relationship in light of the mentee’s goals and professional needs.  Determine these roles early on in the relationship so that you can get the most out of your 18 months together.

A relationship with your mentee consists of:

  • Communicating on professional topics

  • Being interested in your mentee’s career goals

  • Maintaining a safe environment where you and your mentee can discuss difficult topics

Mentee responsibilities

It is vital that the mentee:

  • comes to the relationship with a firm grasp on goals, objectives, and professional challenges

  • welcomes constructive criticism: this is a professional relationship meant to encourage growth and learning

  • helps facilitate communication by asking for suggestions and feedback

  • is open to new ideas or ways of looking at the library profession

  • expresses gratitude for the time your mentor spends with you

  • contributes to the community through ACTIVE involvement in MLA

Application now open: Apply HERE

If you are contemplating mentorship and have questions or comments, please contact the Mentorship Subcommittee Chair, Christy Wayne - [email]

Nota Bene:

Many of the ideas for these guidelines are borrowed from the works of:

The First MLA Leadership Institute’s varied documentation,

Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). Mentoring with CILIP: Handouts to Support Mentors.

Zachary, Lois J. (2000). The mentor’s guide: facilitating effective learning relationships. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.