Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter describes the design and implementation of a formal research mentoring program within a continuing education program for academic librarians. The chapter explores ways in which this type of mentoring might be applied in a single-institution or a cross-institutional mentoring program. Formal one-on-one research-mentoring is one component of the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship (IRDL,, a research development program for novice researchers who are academic librarians from all disciplines. The short-term goal of the IRDL mentoring program is to increase the probability that each IRDL scholar will complete their research project in one year. However, the benefits of formal research mentoring extend beyond the one-year experience of IRDL. Mentoring can develop the research confidence needed to build sustainable success as a librarian-researcher. In the first section of the chapter, the authors discuss the scholarly literature on research mentoring, the rationale for including research mentoring in the development of IRDL, the process of recruiting mentors and pairing them with scholars, and the administration of the program. In the second section, the authors discuss the evaluation of the program, tips for fostering a positive relationship between mentor and scholar, and recommendations for the design of a successful research mentoring program. The authors have appended the agreement that establishes expectations for scholars and their mentors at the outset of their relationship and the monthly writing prompts that facilitate communication between scholars and mentors and foster reflective practice. The authors believe that IRDL provides a unique opportunity to address some of the problems with mentoring that have been reported in the library literature. Their experiences can be applied in other settings, providing improved research mentoring and increased research success among academic librarians.