About Project IDOL



Major Goals

The major goals of Project IDOL are to:

  • Recruit additional underrepresented students to the library profession
  • Provide graduate library science educational opportunities to promising bachelor’s degree holders and library paraprofessionals from under-represented groups
  • Test the efficacy of a distributed online degree program, supported by individual mentors, to retain students from under-represented groups to degree completion and employment as professional librarians serving diverse communities


Potential Impact

This project has the potential to have an impact in several areas including:

  • The project will increase the number of librarians from under-represented groups, thereby helping to increase the diversity of the library profession.
  • The project will increase the number of qualified professionals uniquely prepared for employment in a range of library settings that serve diverse communities.
  • The project will test the efficacy of using a paired-mentorship model, whereby graduate LIS students are paired with senior librarians as their mentors, as a means to increase the recruitment, retention, graduation, and professional employment for a cohort of ten students from under-represented groups.


      Mentoring Component

      Each student has been paired with a mentor of his/her choice. Mentors were recruited from the professional librarians at the HBCU Library Alliance libraries and at Wayne State University. The majority of the mentors had received prior mentorship training and received additional mentorship training, along with the students, at the beginning of the Project. All the mentors and the students are knowledgeable with online communication tools and techniques so that online mentoring can be employed effectively.

      Students are expected to be in communication with their mentors online or by phone on a bi-weekly basis to discuss their progress through the degree program and to report any issues, problems, or concerns they experience. The mentors will, in turn, encourage the students to remain successful and will provide suggestions, guidance, and referrals to additional services.

      The mentors also participate with each other and the SLIS Lead Instructor at least twice a semester via online video communication tools to report on student success and challenges and to share information about their mentor/mentee relationships. The Mentor Coordinator checks in with the mentors bi-weekly to ensure that every aspect of the program proceeds smoothly and that any problems are addressed quickly and proactively.