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mentor, mentee, informal mentorship, purposeful mentorship, accidental mentorship, peer mentorship, academic librarianship


Based on the 2014 OLA Super Conference session “Mentorship in Academic Libraries: A Universe of Possibilities,” this article explores the benefits of informal mentorship in its various forms and how librarians are embracing a new way of thinking about mentorship both individually and organizationally. The lived experiences of two professional academic librarians are shared as they argue that informal mentorship offers the opportunity to co-create a meaningful mentorship experience by recognizing the importance of the mentee’s voice. This paper will discuss the value of informal mentorship and how, when certain elements are present within it, this model can allow us to reimagine mentorship in academic libraries. Concepts such as “accidental” mentorship, “purposeful” mentorship, mentorship “network,” and “peer” mentorship are discussed.


Library and Learning Services


Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research


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Peer Reviewed/Refereed Publication


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Original Publication Citation

MacKinnon, C., & Shepley, S. (2014). Stories of informal mentorship: Recognizing the voices of mentees in academic libraries. Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, 9(1): 1-9.