Frequently Asked Questions

If your question isn’t answered here please contact us directly.

What is peer mentoring?

The ILN uses a peer mentoring model. This means that partners are not placed into established mentor/protégé roles, but rather are encouraged to view their partnership as a way to learn from each other; all are mentors and all are protégés. Professional seniority does not imply seniority in the ILN partnership. We believe that we all have something to learn and something to teach.

The ILN is not:

  • An international exchange program
  • An employment listing service
  • Designed to support specific projects

For more information contact us at contact@interlibnet.org

What do I have to do to participate?

As a participant there are certain obligations on you. We need you to:

  • Respond to emails from your matched partner within a week, unless you and your partner agree otherwise
  • Respond to emails from the ILN
  • Do your best to actively participate in the online discussions
  • Treat the information you receive about and from your partner as confidential, unless they specify otherwise
  • Behave in a professional and courteous manner  and abide by the code of conduct when engaging with other participants or the ILN

These requirement are designed to ensure that the ILN functions smoothly and that all involved have a positive experience.

What can I talk about with my partner?

The ILN  will regularly write and publish discussion topics on the website. We also send an email to all participants with a summary of the topic and a link to the full post on the website. However, you are by no means restricted to this as a topic for discussion with your program partner. In fact, it’s not even required that you use our discussion topics, we provide these as a starting point and a way of supporting you in your new professional relationship.

Some other ways to come up with topics to explore with your program partner include:

  • follow our blog – we publish guest posts and news items from the library profession around the world
  • follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook and see what is getting our attention
  • Look at our past discussion topics – perhaps you missed one or would like to revisit one of the ideas

What support will I and my partner recieve while I am participating in the program?
There are two kinds of support you’ll receive from the ILN while you are participating: administrative support and discussion facilitation.

Administrative support consists of the information we provide to you and your partner, as well as support if you fall out of contact with each other. We’ll remind you when your partnership is nearing an end, and when it’s time to sign up for the next round of partnerships.

The ILN will also facilitate discussions between partners and with the wider group of participants. We’ll provide you with discussion topics to stimulate discussions with your partner, but these are entirely optional. We’ll also host regular blog-based discussions that will be open to all participants, which will give you a chance to get to know some of the other ILN participants.

If at any point you find you have questions about the ILN, it’s activities, your partnership or your obligations please don’t hesitate to contact us at contact@interlibnet.org.

How will the ILN use my information?

What information do you need from participants?
We need information from participants to help us match partners and stay in touch. So we’ll need:

  1. Your contact details, including an email address (our preferred mode of contact)
  2. Details about you – where you work, how long you’ve been in the industry, and your particular areas of interest
  3. Details about what you want in a partner

At all times you’ll have the right to view the information held about you, as well as to change and delete it. We promise to never share that information with anyone else outside of the program.
How will partners be matched?
The ILN will match participants. We’ll do our best to find a partner that meets your stated preferences, but there are a few other principles that will underlie how we match program participants:

  • We’ll match you with someone from another country
  • Unless you indicate otherwise, we’ll match you with someone from a similar sector (e.g. public libraries, academic libraries, special libraries)
  • Unless you indicate otherwise, we’ll match you with someone at a different point in their career

These principles are designed to give our partnerships the most to talk about and the most to learn from each other, but we also want you to be comfortable with your partner so we’d like you to tell us what you want.

If we don’t find you the perfect match, we’ll try for the next best thing, but remember that great relationships can be found in unexpected places. Please keep your mind open and seek to learn and share as much as you can.
What information will be provided to my matched partner?
In order to kick start your partnership, we’ll give your partner your email address, as well as any information you provide to us about where you work, how long you’ve been in the industry, and your particular areas of interest.

We will not share the details of what you want in a partner, nor will we share any other contact details. It is up to you whether you want to provide additional information to your partner. For more information, see the ILN Privacy Policy

What should I do if my partnership isn’t working out?

What should I do if they do not respond to my messages?
If you believe you’ve given your partner enough time to respond (and remember, we all have jobs and lives and we do this in the remaining time, so please be patient), and you’ve not heard anything, please try the following:

  • Try contacting your partner another way. Do you have their twitter handle or perhaps you have friended each other on Facebook or LinkedIn?
  • Contact us. If you can tell us how and when you tried to contact your partner, that will help us figure out what’s going on. We’ll try and contact your partner on your behalf.
  • In the meantime, try participating in the program another way –
    • comment on one of our blog posts,
    • follow us on twitter and participate in discussions using the hashtag #interlibnet

If your partner fails to participate in the program we’ll try and find an alternative partner for you, however this may require you to wait for the next round of partnerships.
What if we don’t get along?
Not all partnerships are going to be as productive as we’d all like them to be, and there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that a partnership hasn’t worked. It may be that the situation for one of the participants changes, or it may be that it just wasn’t a good match. Regardless of the cause, the best thing to do is talk to each other, and then talk to  us so we can help you resolve the situation.

Partnerships can be dissolved at the request of one or both parties, and if possible we will find alternative partners for both participants, however this may have to wait until the next round of partnerships.

What if my situation changes?

We recognise that all participants have their own lives to lead, and we don’t want participation in the ILN to be onerous, difficult or cause any obstructions in your personal or professional life. We also recognise that participants may join the program with the best of intentions and find that, for whatever reason, they can no longer continue.

If this should happen to you, please inform us as soon as possible. It would also be considered professional to inform your partner, if you’ve already been matched. We’ll try and find an alternative peer mentor for your partner, however they may have to wait for the next round of partnerships.

Please remember that your partner and other participants rely on the involvement of all participants. If you are unable to fulfill your obligations to the program we would rather you resign from the program and rejoin at a later date, if possible.

What happens to my partnership at the end of the round?

At the end of four months you can either conclude your existing partnership, or continue it independently, by which we mean that you’ll be left alone to continue the relationship. It will no longer be a ILN partnership, and you won’t receive support from us – because we assume that, after four months of getting along you probably don’t need it.

Please note that deciding to conclude a relationship does not reflect negatively on either party. The goal of the ILN is to build an international network – this means we want you to get to know more than one person. Some of us live busy lives, and it can be hard to actively maintain multiple professional relationships – in order to allow you to get to know more people, you may need to move your focus on to a new partnership.

You are welcome to sign up for a new partnership with us in the next round, regardless of whether you’re maintaining your previous partnership.