Program History

When ViMLoC network was founded, one of their main priorities was mentorship. The VimLoC Mentorship Program was inaugurated in 2013 by Norda Majekodunmi, the Program Coordinator, who organized the mentoring pairs on an ongoing basis until 2015. In this first session we saw nine pairs of mentors and mentees participate in this program.

At the CAPAL Conference in Regina (2018), Yanli Li first met Maha Kumaran, Co-founder of ViMLoC in-person and had a conversation about the initiatives at ViMLoC. They recognized the need to reinitiate the mentorship program to connect new visible minority librarians with experienced librarians. After this meeting, Yanli volunteered to lead the mentorship program and formed the ViMLoC Mentorship Committee in July 2018. Valentina Ly joined the Committee shortly thereafter. In February 2020, Xuemei Li came on board. Since then, the Commitee has run two sessions of a formal, short-term mentorship program.

The 2018 session that ran from November to the end of December matched 25 mentors and 48 mentees. Our follow up survey at the end of the session showed that 84% of the mentees felt this program met their expectations. When asked, “How helpful was your mentor in providing assistance?” 71% of the mentees said “very helpful” and 29% said “helpful”.

Based on the success and high demand for the program, we decided to continue the program in 2020, with the session running May to the end of June, matching 24 mentors and 26 mentees. Based on the feedback, 63% of the mentees felt the mentor was very helpful and 32% of them felt the mentor was helpful in providing assistance.

The positive outcomes of the these sessions inspired the Mentorship Committee to continue with this important work and decided to run the program on an annual basis. The next session will be held at the beginning of May 2021.

Program results were presented at the CAPAL conference in 2019 and OLA Super Conference in 2020.

OLA Super Conference 2019

Testimonials:

Mentor

I joined the ViMLoC mentoring program as a mentor during the summer of 2020. This is the first time that I’ve been a part of a mentoring program and I had a wonderful experience! I was nervous at first as I wasn’t sure I had enough experience or knowledge to share with my mentee, but after our initial meeting we began to have many casual and friendly conversations in the comfort of our own home via zoom. I think this is a very unique program and provides invaluable experience to visible minority mentees and mentors in the library community. I’m glad that I participated in this mentorship program and I would love to join again. I would also  encourage others to join as well! 

– Victoria Ho, Subject Liaison Librarian at the University of Manitoba

Mentee

Like Victoria, the ViMLoC mentorship program of summer of 2020 was also my first time participating in a mentorship program as a mentee. The program and the interactions with Victoria exceeded every expectation that I had going into the mentorship! I was able to receive practical and helpful advice on my studies, career development, and job-seeking as an early professional. Her encouragement and support were very much appreciated, and getting to know Victoria during the program has been a real pleasure. The ViMLoC Mentorship program is unique in that it connects and empowers visible minority individuals in the Canadian LIS field and builds a community. I would highly recommend this program to any library students and early career professionals.

– Monica Mun, MLIS Candidate at the University of Alberta