Friday, May 25, 2012

WeLead Mentorship Program Now Accepting Applications

MADISON, Wis. – The WeLead Task Force is seeking applicants for its revised initiative to identify and mentor four new or emerging librarians.  Established in 2004 by the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA), the Task Force’s mission is to foster leadership skills in a select few members of the next generation of library professionals, be they public, academic, school or special librarians.  Chosen participants will receive financial support to attend WLA conferences, be assigned a designated mentor, and be provided professional development opportunities.

Eligible applicants must be students, paraprofessionals and professionals currently in the field of library science and have demonstrated potential to be future library leaders.  To qualify for this program applicants may either 1) never been a member of the Wisconsin Library Association or 2) have been a member for three years or less (not including student memberships).  More information is available at the online application.

Since WeLead began, three classes of protégés have completed the program.  A member of the first class, Jennifer Snoek-Brown, a Reference & Instruction Librarian at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon, notes, “I appreciated and enjoyed my WeLead experience during my three years as part of that initial cohort; I appreciate my WeLead experience even more now, looking back.”  She goes on, “WeLead provided me a mentor I am still in contact with today; colleagues who became friends; a path into professional committees and further friendships I could not have anticipated; support for ideas and passions I wanted to explore but didn't know quite how to get started; in short, a beginning.”

There have been changes to the program since that initial class.  The revised WeLead Initiative now requires only a two year, rather than a three year commitment.  As a result, mentors and protégés will have the opportunity to build their relationship while focusing on a WLA committee assignment, which now occurs within the first year of the program.  Potential mentors, who also receive complementary registrations for the WLA conference, are encouraged to apply.

Another former protégé, Katharine Clark (Madison Public Library-Sequoya Branch), concludes, “Being a part of the WeLead program was an outstanding experience for me. It gave me the opportunity to meet librarians from all over the state and become involved with WLA in a more direct way than just paying my membership dues. I continue to be impressed with the supportive people I've met through WLA and look forward to attending conferences and serving on committees in the future.

If, like Katharine, you’re looking for an opportunity to become more involved in a professional organization - to grow as a librarian and a leader - please consider applying for this program.  The application deadline is July 31, 2012.

For more information, please contact Pamela O’Donnell, Chair of the WeLead Task Force for the Wisconsin Library Association by telephone, 608-263-2014, or email:

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