ASSOCIATES (vol. 9, no. 2, November 2002) -

*Job Exchanges and Mentoring for Library Support Staff*


Samuel R. Brown, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Exchanging Jobs
Cheshire, CT
Phone: (203) 272-1366; Fax: (208) 439-7160

As of July 1, 2002 Southern Connecticut Library Council became the fiscal sponsor of Exchanging Jobs [], a free website devoted to job exchanges and job shadowing for librarians. A job exchange lets a participant trade places for a set period of time-typically from one to six months-with someone who has similar responsibilities. Job shadowing, on the other hand, typically lasts between half a day and two days and comes in two varieties: 1) A mentee posts his or her contact information on a list specifying the type of job that would be of interest. A mentor who works in this type of job contacts him or her to arrange a time for the mentee to shadow the mentor; 2) A mentor posts his or her contact information and job responsibilities on a list. A mentee interested in this type of job contacts the mentor to arrange the shadowing. In both job shadowing varieties the mentee would accompany the mentor around during the workday.

Shadowing partners may continue informal communication after the job shadowing or choose to enroll in a more formal mentor program, such as one that may be offered by their state library association. For example, the Arizona, California, Connecticut and Kentucky Library Associations sponsor formal mentor programs for their members. Another option would be to seek out a formal mentor program from a specialized library organization, such as one sponsored by The American Association of Law Libraries, the Medical Library Group of Southern California & Arizona, and REFORMA (National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking).

People seek a job exchange or shadowing for a variety of reasons, such as needing a change of scenery, wanting to expand social networks or looking for a broader perspective on the profession. The website is run by Samuel R. Brown, Ph.D., who pursued his own job exchange in 2001. Why not contact him at to find out more information or just go to the website to look around.

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