Skip to Main Content

Answerland Staff Toolkit

Help, information, and resources for library staff participating in Answerland, Oregon's statewide reference service.

Mentoring Program Overview

Mentoring librarians is one of the ways that Answerland helps our community to grow. New librarians on Answerland may not have experience on a reference desk, and are learning new ways of communication and new software at the same time.

The main goal of the mentoring program is to provide support for new Answerland librarians.

Who Can Be a Mentor?

To be a mentor you should:

  • Have at least 1 year of experience staffing Answerland at an Answerland partner library.
  • Want to work with new librarians (often volunteers) to teach them about Answerland.
  • Be able to evaluate transcripts using the rubrics from the Quality Team to help new Answerland librarians grow and improve.
  • Love Oregon libraries!

What Does It Involve?

Being a mentor may involve helping a librarian practice using Answerland software, being available during shifts (if schedules allow), reading through transcripts, and giving feedback. Mentors may work with a mentee at their library or a mentee in another part of the state.

The mentor and mentee will both commit to 3 months in the mentoring program.  Since traffic and number of shifts vary quite a bit, this time frame should provide ample time for the mentee to feel comfortable staffing the service and for the mentor to provide feedback regarding virtual reference skills.  While evaluating the work that your mentee is doing, please keep in mind the rubric the Quality Team uses for selecting Notable Transcripts.

At the end of the 3 month period, both mentor and mentee will complete a short evaluation/survey of the mentoring experience.  Feedback will be used to improve the program so that it can best meet the needs of Answerland staffers.

Mentoring does not have to end after 3 months. You and your mentee are free to decide when to end your mentoring relationship.  You are welcome to keep this as open-ended as you would like.

How Do I Get Started?

To get started as a mentor, please fill out the application. If you do not have at least 1 year of experience staffing Answerland at a partner library, please contact a member of the Quality Team before submitting the application.

What If I Need Help or Resources?

As part of the Mentoring Program, below are links to the program guidelines and general resources to provide mentors and mentees consistent and clear expectations as to your role in the mentoring program.

Instructions for Answerland Mentors

Instructions for Answerland Mentees

Best Practices for Quality Chat Reference

Notable Transcripts


If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the Answerland Quality Team or the Answerland Coordinator.