Mentorship Program

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Revision as of 19:47, 7 March 2016 by TimothyTavarez (Talk | contribs) (Added Timothy Tavarez to "partners" list.)

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  • Bring people together to build individual capacity and empowerment
  • Increase diversity in participation and presentation at Code4Lib (both online and at conferences)
  • Increase number of volunteers for developing and maintaining Code4Lib software projects


Structure of the relationship between mentor and mentee can and should be defined at the outset by the parties involved. However, here are a few simple guidelines you may or may not want to follow for success:

  • Set up a clear overall goal and timeframe. "Learn Ruby" is ok, but is not specific enough. "Create and deploy experimental Vote2Promote discussion board in Ruby on Rails" would be better.
  • Set up expectations. For example:
    • Set aside time each week to collaborate on articulating weekly goals.
    • Establish a communication platform and expected response time in advance.
    • Establish "office hours" in chat room or IM for questions and review of progress
  • Evaluation: We would love to know what worked or didn't work for advice to future mentors

Platforms for communication

This is generally worked out between the mentor and the partner. A mentor is not a replacement for reading the manual (RTFM). Please read the following before asking questions of the mentor (or the listserv for that matter): How to Ask Questions the Smart Way

  • Instant Messenger
  • Trello
  • IRC Chat Room (Code4Lib)
  • Email


Please state whether or not you have a preference for your mentor or partner to be male, female, or some other unique demographic characteristics. Otherwise, it will be assumed that you don't mind either way.


Bess Sadler - I currently have a couple of pro bono projects that would be good learning opportunities for someone interested in learning more about Blacklight, Ruby on Rails, Solr, museums, or libraries in Africa. I am also happy to be a mentor generally, and I'm open to suggestions about what form that might take.

Eric Larson - I have been working in large academic libraries as a web designer/application developer for a decade. I am also the co-founder of a business successfully selling software to libraries. I would be interesting in mentoring people on entrepreneurship in libraries. I can offer advice on how to form a company, how to market your product, what it costs to exhibit at conferences, etc. I would also be happy to mentor people new to the field of library application development. I can answer all those questions you are afraid to ask elsewhere.

Mike Giarlo - I've been in various IT positions in academic and research libraries for 17 years, during much of which I have concentrated on digital libraries and repositories. My most recent programming experience has been with Ruby on Rails, working as an active member of the Hydra project for Penn State since 2011. Coding isn't my superpower, though; if I have any superpower, perhaps it's that I've found ways to be successful as something of a conduit or a polyglot, which started when I built on my IT background by getting an MLIS. On an average work day, it's not uncommon for me to get into a nitty-gritty tech discussion with our software developers and DevOps and an hour later be chatting with a dean or a director about technology strategy or library services. Perhaps I can help you take your career in this direction as well.

Terry Brady - I have built metadata management and data conversion software in corporate, government, non-profit, and higher education environments. For the last several years, I have sought opportunities to use my skills on meaningful projects. I found the libraries/archives space to be a great place to find meaningful projects. Working within a small IT team, I know the importance of building a larger community of peers. My current projects focus on DSpace, Java, XSLT, PHP, JavaScript, and SQL. I would be happy to mentor folks on these technologies or on software development in general. Contact Info.


Timothy Tavarez - I'm a US Air Force veteran who is transitioning into the library technology space as founder of Nete (we're a startup building a library PaaS). My only experience in libraries has been as a life long patron and on-off volunteer. I'm a self-taught programmer/developer (Angular/JS/ES2015). I'm hoping to find mentors that can help give me guidance on making the right decisions for my company, development and bettering the overall industry/community.

Bess Sadler - I have been a developer for Digital Humanities and Library software projects for over a decade, but I am relatively new to library management and administration and I would love to find a mentor with more experience than I have in those areas.

Jessica Wood - Currently a cataloger, looking for projects to improve my coding skills and get past the basic "learn to code" stuff, and to move more into the tech side of librarianship.

David Anderson - Looking to get some (any) experience with Solr and/or Drupal. Happy to contribute a small amount of free labor to interesting projects in exchange for knowledge. Currently a federal systems librarian, got MLS a year and a half ago. Been in the library field for 9 years in a wide variety of roles, if anyone wants to learn from my mistakes.

Jeffrey Sabol - Would like to gain experience coding in Ruby and Ruby on Rails. I would also like to learn about Solr and SQL databases. If anybody currently uses OCLC's WMS I would like to learn more about that system. I currently work as the Electronic Resources and Systems Librarian at Marymount California University. I would be willing to assist and help with any project that would help me learn these skills.

Alyssa Loera - Would like to gain experience in python/pymarc, ruby on rails, SQL databases and other tools. I've been working in libraries for 6 years and I'm in the process of getting my MLIS. Right now I coordinate digital projects at the academic university level but would love to learn more about the developer side of things.

Bryan Brown - I'm a developer in my first year out of library school working with Drupal, Islandora, Solr, Fedora, and OJS. I don't have much development experience, so I'd like to fill in the gaps (project management, participation in open source projects, code design, documentation writing and general development best practices). Mentors who work with/on Islandora or Hydra would be a huge plus.

Mark Eaton - I'm an academic librarian learning Python and Javascript. I'm at the point where I'm writing my own working scripts, but I could really use some input to make them better. I'd also welcome guidance on how best to build on what I've learned so far.

Megan Kudzia - I'm a Web Developer/Designer librarian and have been for the last four years. My long-term goal is to be a full-stack developer (which I realize will take years!) and I'm interested to know if there are others out there who want to work together toward that same goal? I'm currently strongest at front-end design and development (HTML, CSS, basic PHP), and I'm gradually working my way back "down" the back end (server and network administration, database management, etc.). I'm also interested more immediately in management (project, time, human). I seem to be accumulating student workers and interns so I'd love to share knowledge with others on what's working for them to scale up human management.

Code4Lib Community Projects for Mentorship Opportunities

  • Wiki Cleanup? - Lots of pages are out of date and other pages are hard to find. Perhaps even migrate from MediaWiki to Github Wiki.
  • Drupal Upgrades?
  • Code4Lib Journal WordPress Upgrades?
  • RailsBridge Workshop (either at Conference or individual effort)