Academic Librarian Mentors Needed for ALA Spectrum Scholars

Help support a diverse workforce in the next generation of academic librarians by mentoring an ALA Spectrum Scholar through the ACRL Dr. E.J. Josey Spectrum Scholar Mentor Program!

This program links library school students and new librarians who are of American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern and North African and/or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander descent, with established academic librarians who provide mentoring.

What mentors do:

You will:

  • provide an ear for confidential discussion and feedback.
  • assist mentees’ exploration of career paths.
  • help mentees find opportunities for involvement and leadership within the profession.

You must:

  • be an academic or research librarian.
  • have multiple years of professional experience (a minimum of 5 years is preferred).
  • be a current member of ACRL.
  • be willing to commit to one year of mentoring.

To assist you with building a successful mentoring relationship, you will have the opportunity to attend a webinar about mentoring tips led by a cross-cultural mentoring trainer.

Mentor responsibilities include:

  • contacting the Spectrum Scholar on a regular basis (averaging at least once a month is ideal).
  • meeting with the Spectrum Scholar at library conferences when you are both are in attendance.
  • responding to brief assessment surveys during the first year of your mentorship.

How to Apply

If you are interested in becoming a mentor for a Spectrum Scholar through the ACRL Dr. E.J. Josey Spectrum Scholar Mentor program, complete the online application.

What Happens Next?

The ACRL Dr. E.J. Josey Spectrum Scholar Mentor Committee matches new pairs of mentors and Spectrum Scholars throughout the year, with most of the matches made in the spring. If we are unable to match you with a Scholar immediately, your application will be kept on file and you’ll be contacted periodically to confirm your ongoing interest in participating.

While applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, the committee will be matching a new cohort of mentors and mentees beginning in April, so apply today to be an ACRL Spectrum Scholar Mentor. Applications completed by April 15 will be considered for matches with this spring’s major cohort. The profession benefits when you share your experience!

If you have questions about the ACRL Dr. E. J. Josey Spectrum Scholar Mentor Program, please contact Committee Chair Kiyomi Deards at or ACRL staff member David Connolly at

Who was Dr. E. J. Josey (1924-2009), for whom ACRL’s Spectrum Scholar Mentor Program is named?

By 1984 [Elonnie Junius Josey, better known as E. J.] had reached the pinnacle of his profession, becoming the second African-American president of the American Library Association (Clara Jones was the first, in 1976) after devoting his professional life to fighting the racism that permeated American society. Those of us who had the privilege of knowing E. J. knew him to be a fighter. Perhaps more than any other member of ALA, Josey represented that changes in the nation and the profession that occurred in the second half of the 20th century. One of the first and foremost African American library educators (University of Pittsburgh) and a trailblazer in Association leadership, he said in a 2000 interview, “I was born and grew up in the days of segregation in the kind of society that not only dehumanizes me as an African American, but dehumanized my family and all African Americans.” But he also noted that “people who know me best will also say that I fought for all people who were disadvantaged, including minorities and women, not only in our profession but throughout the world.” He organized the Black Caucus of the American Library Association in 1970, and in 2002 he was awarded Honorary Membership in ALA, the Association’s highest honor. Not only was E. J. Josey a fighter for human rights, he was also a fighter when it came to the ill health that ultimately put him in a wheelchair. The last time I saw him was at the 2008 ALA Midwinter Meeting, where the beaming octogenarian received an impromptu introduction to basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It was one of dozens and dozens of proud moments in the illustrious career of a man who changed the face of librarianship and the country.

“Civil Rights Pioneer, Librarian E. J. Josey Dies at 85.” American Libraries magazine blog. ALA, 6 July 2009, Web.

Also see Wikipedia’s entry on Dr. Josey.

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