Three weeks into my new post, and I have my first meeting with my mentor. All new employees above a certain grade are assigned a mentor by the head of the Training and Professional Development department, who also came along to the first meeting, to introduce himself and outline the aims of the mentoring scheme.
As was pointed out, the recruitment of a new member of staff takes considerable investment in both time and money, so the aim of the mentoring scheme is to help new staff members settle into their new environment and new role quickly - so they become effective faster, and also to help guide them through protocols etc that may be new to them.
Mentors are assigned from outside your own department, and they are usually at the same level or above. So to that extent, the new member of staff takes "pot-luck" with who they are assigned to. Having said that, I think I drew the trump card with my mentor. Our initial meeting lasted 2 hours - I found her easy to talk to; she listened but also willingly shared her own experiences, and although our departments are very different, we found we had certain similarities in both our working and our private lives too - and I think any common ground helps.
Whilst my mentor is from outside the library world, I am very happy that I have found someone I can rely on to guide my through my first 6 months (may be longer if we both agree) and I know that I have many library colleagues I can turn to for advice on professional matters too. For now though, I am happy to spend 6 months learning the processes and procedures of this new organisation, and discussing my new role with my assigned mentor. She has been at this organisation for 14 years and still occasionally meets her own mentor from all those years ago "for a good gossip" which I think is easier to do with someone completely removed from your immediate working world - and sometimes you just have to let off steam - don't you!?