Countless individuals devote their time to ensuring that New York’s heritage is preserved. DHPSNY’s Mentorship Program is designed to help these individuals expand their archival and preservation expertise and meet professional goals.
The DHPSNY Mentorship Program is designed to create a community that supports those who care for the unique library research materials and archival collections in the state of New York – volunteers, interns, students, as well as new or emerging professionals. Unlike the traditional one-on-one mentorship model, our program establishes mentorship circles, allowing individuals to serve as both a mentor and a mentee, and welcomes those seeking to engage in both roles. Mid-career professionals may sometimes struggle to fit into the traditional mentorship model, serving as a mentor while still seeking mentorship themselves. Likewise, volunteers often feel like they do not fit into these one-on-one relationships, as their needs are not to set professional goals and find job opportunities, but rather expand their understanding of how best to care for their collections.
DHPSNY's Mentorship circles consist of four to six individuals at varying points in their career, including students, new and emerging professionals, established practitioners, and volunteers. The make-up of the mentorship circles is determined based on either location or interests, depending upon each individual’s needs.
Once established, each circle will convene for three months. Circles are required to meet, virtually twice a month. DHPSNY will provide a conference call line for audio and video conferencing for virtual meetings. In addition to a meetings, participants are encouraged to interact with their group through a dedicated group listserv and additional meetings as they desire.
For each meeting, DHPSNY will provide a theme with guiding questions and resources. While these are meant to be a foundation for discussion, groups are encouraged to explore additional topics and themes as their interests dictate.
Each group will have a Circle Captain and Facilitator. The Circle Captain is the administrative hub for the program and is responsible scheduling meetings, reserving the conference line, and providing updates on the group to DHPSNY staff. The Facilitator is intended to lend an experienced voice to help guide discussion and will also support the Circle Captain as necessary to ensure participation in polls, meetings, and other activities.
Check back here to apply for the 2024 cohort — coming summer 2024.
Frequently Asked Questions about the DHPSNY Mentorship Program
What are the requirements?
DHSPNY serves cultural institutions throughout the state of New York, including archives, libraries, historical societies, and museums, that operate programs to preserve and make accessible records of enduring value. Volunteers, interns, and employees of these organizations are eligible to take part in DHPSNY’s mentorship circles, as are students pursuing library and archival studies in New York State.
What does participation in a mentorship circle entail?
By taking part in DHPSNY’s Mentorship Program, you are committing to meeting monthly with your circle for a six-month period. As a group, you may also decide to meet more regularly or communicate with each other via other platforms. Each circle will be assigned a Captain responsible for coordinating your circle’s meetings. Circles are also assigned a Facilitator to help guide discussion and support the Captain as needed. If you are interested in serving as a Circle Captain or Facilitator, you will have the opportunity to indicate so on the application form.
DHPSNY has crafted monthly topics for the circles to help guide discussion. Topics slated for the upcoming cohort include outreach, collections care, career development, and theft, forgery, and fraud. For each topic, a brief description, discussion points, and additional resources will be provided. While these are meant to be a foundation for discussion, groups are also encouraged to explore additional topics and themes as their interests dictate.
Discussion in general should focus on conversations relevant to improving an individual’s capacity to collect, preserve, and provide access to collections. Each group will have participants with varying experiences, and our hope is to provide a platform for guidance, whether for collections care advice, networking, or resume assistance. Within your circle, we ask that you engage in a polite and professional manner. The goal of the circle is to create an inclusive community that supports individuals who provide care for collections, regardless of previous training.
How and when do circles meet?
Circles that are established during this application period will commit to virtually meeting once a month, August 2021 - January 2022. DHPSNY will provide access to a video and conference line for meetings. In addition, DHPSNY will manage a listserv for each group to better facilitate discussion via email.
What happens at the end of six months?
After the initial six months, we hope that you’ve found a great group of like-minded individuals and that you’ll continue to keep in touch! As the program progresses, we will look for ways to support circles that continue to meet after the initial period. If you are unable to take part after the six month period, you will no longer be expected to meet with your circle.
What happens if I don’t like my circle?
DHSPNY recognizes that not all circles will work. We do ask that you commit to meeting with your circle for six months in order to give participants an opportunity to get to know one another and establish a relationship. If, at the end of the six-month period, you find that you are not grooving with your circle, you are welcome to reach out to DHPSNY and make arrangements to join a new circle in the coming cycle.