The ABAA has launched a program where seasoned ABAA members act as mentors, i.e. business advisors and guides, to novices in the rare book field and/or those not currently in the trade but whose background and interest in the vocation would make them good candidates to enter the field.  

The goals of this program are to:

• Provide dealers early in their careers with the opportunity to advance their professional development
• Build a recruitment pipeline for the Association that enhances the number of qualified applicants and diversifies the membership
• Afford mentees the opportunity to build a relationship with an ABAA member
• Educate potential candidates about a career in the trade (for example, graduate students looking for a profession outside of academia) 

Structure

ABAA Headquarters is responsible for coordinating and implementing the program. Mentors and mentees will be paired with consideration of a variety of factors such as any specific requests, specialization/area of focus, and business structure. Location could also be a point of consideration but, with the availability of technology like Skype, need not be a requirement. 

Once paired, mentors and mentees will be introduced via ABAA Headquarters and, if both felt that it was a suitable fit, would commence a one year period of mentorship. Over the course of the year, mentors and mentees are required to have face to face communication for a minimum of 1-2 hours each month (this could be completed electronically via FaceTime, Skype, or another service to which both have access). The schedule structure to meet this requirement will be determined by the pair. Ideally, mentees and mentors would also be able to meet at least once in person but it will not be a requirement. An excellent opportunity for this meeting is at any of the ABAA Book Fairs, especially if a mentor is exhibiting. (Mentees will be provided with complimentary passes to all ABAA Book Fairs.) Mentors and mentees are responsible for clearly outlining their goals and expectations for the relationship, and then communicating these objectives to ABAA Headquarters so we can have them on record. ABAA Headquarters will be available during the entire process to address any concerns or issues that either party may have. 

At the end of the mentorship year, mentors and mentees will be required to submit feedback on their experience in the form of a brief written report. These reports will be collected by ABAA Headquarters and used to inform future selections and modifications of the program. If the mentee and mentor are amenable, recognition of completion of the program would appear on the ABAA’s blog and newsletter, either in the form of an interview with both or with excerpts from their written reports.  

As recognition for their participation in and completion of the program, both mentors and mentees will receive certificates. ABAA mentors will be recognized on a page on the ABAA website. In addition, we will waive the ABAA application fee for mentees if after completing the program they apply within 2 years of eligibility for membership.

Requirements for Mentors 

• Minimum of 3 years as a Full ABAA member
• Experience selling to multiple customer bases (to other businesses, private clients, and institutions)
• Preference in pairing may be given to those who have an additional specialized skill, such as conducting appraisals, business accounting, etc. 

Requirements for Mentees 

• Minimum of 2 years in business on your own OR a minimum of 3 years working for another seller OR a minimum of 3 years working in a related field, such as a rare books and manuscripts library OR other evidence of interest and promise in the trade 
• Letter of reference 
• Completion of ABAA Mentorship Program Application and Interview, which includes a demonstration of commitment to the field and to the length of the program

 

Contact ABAA Headquarters at hq@abaa.org for more information.