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Mortenson Center Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Thursday, October 9, 2008

3:00 – 4:30 pm, 142 Undergraduate Library

In attendance: Barbara Ford (chair), Atoma Batoma, Merle Bowen, Rae-Anne Montague, Lynne Rudasill, Wolfgang Schloer, Scott Schwartz - Mortenson staff:  Susan Schnuer

The meeting started with introductions.  Barbara Ford then spent a few minutes presenting the Mortenson Center website.  The website contains information about the Center’s activities and projects, including: MC Select, Associates presentations, information about grants, access to the newsletter, and application information.

Barbara Ford reviewed the Fall Associates program and its history.  She talked about the current group and their program.  The committee discussed the program and its format.  Questions were asked about how the program was constructed and how it is evaluated.  There was general agreement that there should be a stronger evaluation component.  However additional staff would be needed to create and implement a comprehensive evaluation program.

Susan Schnuer talked about the Center’s current work in East and West Africa. The Center is working with university librarians on an automation project in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda.  This project is supported by the Carnegie and MacArthur foundation grants.  Both foundations have just renewed the grants for another three years.  Currently a group of 10 librarians participating in this project are attending a program at the Mortenson Center.

Barbara Ford reviewed the Center’s work in South Africa.  The South African project started in 2000.  Barbara and Susan will be continuing this work by attending a leadership institute in November 2008 at the University of Pretoria.  The Mortenson Center is also involved in a second project that focuses on strengthening the skills of subject specialists as they seek to work with faculty on their campuses.  As part of the second project, Barbara and Susan will visit three universities in November: Wits, Kwazulu-Natal, and the University of Capetown.  Scott Schwartz wanted to know if archivists were selected for this training.  To date, only academic librarians have participated.

The Mortenson Center has almost completed its current IMLS grant:”Thinking Outside the Borders: Library Leadership in a World Community”.  The Mortenson Center has partnered with the Illinois State Library on this grant.  A publication will soon be issued.

The Mortenson Center is part of a new IMLS grant that has been awarded to the University of Illinois Library; it will be managed by the Asian library.  The Chinese American Library Association is working with the University Library on this grant. This new grant will focus on training for public librarians and library educators, both in the US and China, and on the development of website hosting Chinese resources of interest to researchers and scholars in the US.

Merle Bowen mentioned that she would think about putting a library position into her next Title VI grant, which is due next year.

Barbara Ford said a few words about the Mortenson Center Distinguished lecture series.  She invited all the committee members to suggest potential speakers.  Wolfgang Schloer mentioned that the lecture this year seemed focused on the library community and wondered if there was interest in having a topic with broader appeal.   Barbara Ford said that she would be happy to consider all suggestions.

The Mortenson Center is pursuing a variety of projects for 2009.  In January a group of Costa Rican librarians are planning to attend a short program at the Mortenson Center before going to ALA Midwinter conference. This program has not yet been confirmed.  The Mortenson Center is working with an university librarian from Pakistan who attended the Center program last year as a Fulbright.  She has submitted a proposal that would involve the Mortenson Center in the development of a training center for librarians. The Library for Foreign Literature in Moscow has contacted the Mortenson Center and intends to resume a strong partnership with the Center. The first project will be to work with Russian school librarians.  The Mortenson Center has been contacted by an institution in Georgia about a possible project.  The Georgian project is still under discussion.

At the end of the meeting Wolfgang Schloer asked if it would be possible to raise Mortenson Center program fees in order to fund another staff position. The committee discussed the idea but no decision was reached.

 

At 4:00 pm the Mortenson Center Fall Associates joined the committee and talked with the Advisory committee members.

The meeting was adjourned.