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Remote Mentorship: Experiences with the ACA Mentorship Program in 2021

29 Sep 2021 10:00 AM | Anonymous member

About the Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) Mentorship Program

The Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) offers a Mentorship Program that connects emerging archivists with working archivists to help “advise and guide them on career and professional development.” It provides mentees with a mentor to whom they may ask questions about the archival profession. It begins in January and lasts for one year, unless the mentor and mentee both decide to continue. For more information about eligibility and the ACA Mentorship Program in general, please visit the ACA's Mentorship Program's web page. 

Experiences Within the ACA Mentorship Program: A Mentee’s Perspective (Alesha Grummett-Roesch)

I heard about the ACA Mentorship Program from a friend of mine who had participated in the program the year before and enjoyed her experiences, which made me eager to have the opportunity to participate. I decided to apply because I thought that it would be a great chance to network, that it would provide a one-on-one opportunity to speak with a working archivist, and that it would allow me to learn more about the archival community in general.  

The ACA paired me with Rebecca Murray, a Senior Archivist in Reference Services at Library and Archives Canada (LAC). This was the first time that I had participated in a mentorship program, so I was not entirely certain about what to expect. One of the first topics that Rebecca and I discussed was how we wanted to communicate and how often. We decided to have monthly meetings and communicate via email in between the meetings, if needed. Before the meetings, we would plan a few topics that we wanted to discuss, such as her work experiences within LAC, interview tips, the ACA conference, and courses that I took as a graduate student at the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. 

I enjoy meeting with Rebecca each month to talk about archives. I feel that I learn something new each time. One of the things that surprised me most is the great network that Rebecca has. For example, a few times she invited some of her friends and former colleagues to join our meetings, so that I had a chance to learn more about other archivists’ experiences and get advice from them. I also attended a Reference Archivist team meeting, which was a wonderful opportunity. I was able to learn more about what it is like doing reference work, something that I did not learn much about during my graduate studies. Overall, I have really enjoyed being a part of the mentorship program. It has been an extremely well-supported environment and my mentor has gone far above what I expected. I look forward to seeing what the remainder of the year within the ACA Mentorship Program brings. 

Experiences Within the ACA Mentorship Program: A Mentor’s Perspective (Rebecca Murray )

I applied for the ACA Mentorship Program without any prior knowledge of what it might entail. It’s been my first opportunity to be part of a formal mentorship program. I have to admit there was a bit of imposter syndrome at the start – surely I’m not old enough or experienced enough to be a mentor, I thought. 

My experience with the program has shown me that I do have something to share, even with less than ten years of formal work experience in an archive. I also hadn’t anticipated how much I would learn too. I don’t have formal education in archives or information studies, so being paired with Alesha has been a great opportunity to learn about her education and what she’s learned about the archival profession in a Master of Information program. This was only further cemented during the ACA conference when I had the chance to listen to students and new grads speak about the gaps in archival education and how they view the profession. 

In inviting other archivists and historians in my network to join us during our monthly chats, I also learned about different types of archives and gained perspective on differences between the private and public sectors. Although we’ve been meeting once a month through any number of online platforms, Alesha and I have also become regular correspondents on any number of topics (mostly) related to archival work. 

A really interesting and unique thing about this year is that we attended a virtual meet up for all mentees and mentors.  Although not all attended, it was a great chance to “meet” archivists from across the country doing all sorts of different work and to hear about their experiences within the program. 


The program is not only a one-year opportunity to get advice on a myriad of topics from an archivist, it’s also an opportunity to network and to gain perspective on the range of archival work and institutions in Canada.  It’s a great opportunity for experienced archivists to give back to the community and to (hopefully!) help inspire and encourage the next generation of information professionals. 


About the 2021 Mentorship Program

The 2021 ACA Mentorship Program saw a record number of participants. According to Jamie Sanford, the Mentorship Coordinator, there were “36 mentors and 46 mentees,” as some mentors agreed to mentor two mentees. All mentees were matched with a mentor. If you are interested in becoming a mentor or mentee, please fill out the mentor or mentee application by November 15, 2021.

Alesha Grummett-Roesch and Rebecca Murray

Alesha Grummett-Roesch is a recent graduate of the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. She completed her Master of Information, focusing on Archives and Records Management, in June of 2021. 

Rebecca Murray is a Senior Archivist in the Reference Services Division at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, Ontario.  She is also a member of the ACA’s Communications Committee. 

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