MentorNJ: Linking Library Staff Statewide

MentorNJ: Linking Library Staff Statewide



The MentorNJ Project is a one-year pilot project funded by the New Jersey State Library and LibraryLinkNJ. The purpose of the project is to develop mentor network services and programs and a new guide to New Jersey libraries. It will serve as a gateway to librarians and paraprofessionals new to the profession or the state. As part of this service, there will also be a mentor network, both virtual and in-person, available to librarians or paraprofessionals. The new virtual guide and mentor network will save time and effort that library staff spend researching various organizations, libraries, and other online resources. It will also create an environment that supports and promotes effective resource sharing and successful collaborations in the New Jersey library community.

Promote professional sense of pride and connectedness among the New Jersey Library Community and expand library professional roles in the present and future.

Statewide Strategic Plan
The MentorNJ Project will also fulfill the following goals and objectives of the Statewide Strategic Plan:

Goal 2: Leadership and Coordination 

  • Learn from each other: Establish forums that enable the staff of libraries to regularly meet and share best practices in funding, service delivery, advocacy, innovation and leadership.

Goal 6: Professional Development and Self Care

  • Time to learn: Designate time for informal networking, brainstorming and learning from each other.


  • Initiate a project in response to library community input for the Statewide Strategic Plan.
  • Subsidize services and programs for library professionals and paraprofessionals statewide to achieve their professional development through learning from each other.
  • Foster “professional networking” in New Jersey Library Community where library professionals and paraprofessionals can connect, share, and collaborate with each other.
  • Encourage leadership among the library professionals and paraprofessionals in the State.

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Project Descriptions

Project Scope

(1) Virtual Guide to NJ Libraries
- Launched on March 23, 2015

Information on consortiums, local professional organizations and groups, a basic guide to NJLA and the State Library, and the Library Cooperatives. Sometimes being a librarian or paraprofessional can be scary and uncertain whether new to the profession or the state. So we plan to develop a virtual guide to New Jersey libraries. The virtual guide is a set of webpages that will be hosted on the LibraryLinkNJ website, and it includes the following resource content:

  • Links to New Jersey libraries’ online resources will be included.
  • Guide to listservs and LibraryLinkNJ forums by topic, area of expertise such as NJSL, NJLA, NJASL, VALE, HSLANJ, etc. The guide will also serve to promote the listservs and online forums so ideas are shared more extensively.
  • Document Sharing - i.e. behavior policies, photo releases, grant applications, strategic plans, policies, booklists, etc.
  • Mentors' Directory.  

(2) Mentor Network (on & offline)

Mentors are a group of library professionals and paraprofessionals who are able and willing to be a mentor and are willing to share their information through the Mentors' Directory. Anyone who needs a mentor to his/her new library position can contact the mentors listed on the directory. The project team or the sponsoring organizations will not match mentors and mentees, and developing or maintaining of the mentoring relationship between any specific mentor and mentee is not included in the project scope.

  • Mentors' Directory Online: Mentors will be categorized and can be sorted by type of library and areas of expertise and job responsibilities. Anyone who has a user account on the LibraryLinkNJ’s website and meets the minimum requirements can fill out a mentor online form. 
  • Online Networking: Provide use of an online meeting platform for online meet-ups for professional networking among the library professionals and paraprofessionals. An online survey will be conducted to pick a theme or subject for each meet-up. These online meet-ups will be open to everyone.
    • 1 & 1/2 hours long program led by a moderator and a group of panels
    • Two online meet-ups for the pilot project
  • Offline Networking: Offer one offline networking program for this pilot project. This is dedicated exclusively for professional networking. More details will follow soon.
    • A half-day event in Fall 2015 

 Sponsoring Organizations/Groups

  • LibraryLinkNJ, The New Jersey Library Cooperative 
  • New Jersey State Library (NJSL) 
  • New Jersey Library Association (NJLA) Professional Development Committee & Leadership and Education Subcommittee

This project is a joint project among the sponsoring organizations/groups above. The total budget of $10,000 is funded equally by the New Jersey State Library and LibraryLinkNJ, and the State Library serves as the fiscal agent.  

NJSL LibraryLinkNJ     NJLA


Tasks Timeline
Launch of Virtual Guide to NJ Libraries & Mentors' Directory March 23, 2015
Online Networking Meet-up #1: Thursday, May 21, 2015 (10:30 am - 12:00 pm)
Meet-up #2: TBA (October or November 2015)
Offline Networking Friday, October 2, 2015 (1:00 pm - 4:00 pm)


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