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Mortenson Center Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Mortenson Center Advisory Committee Minutes

Thursday, April 8, 2010, 1 pm

142 Undergraduate Library



In attendance: Barbara Ford (chair), Susan Schnuer, Paula Carns, Merle Bowen, Karen Wei, Scott Walter, Kathleen Kern, and Rae-Anne Montague


The meeting began with introductions.

The Center is now in the second year of a three year renewal project with both Carnegie and MacArthur Foundations. The focus of these grants is centered on automation of ten specific university libraries in Sub Saharan Africa. Susan has just returned from three and half weeks in Nigeria and reports great progress. All of the grantee libraries there are up and running with their new automated systems and the focus is now on training.  Barbara will be traveling to Uganda in mid May to Makerere University where their system is up and running. The focus will be on training on outreach using technology. The projects in Ghana and Tanzania are also moving forward. As these projects wind down we are transitioning in the use of regional trainers. The MacArthur grant will not renew as they are now concentrating on smaller, more focused projects. There will be a Carnegie site visit to the Mortenson Center later this year.

As part of these grants, in June the Center will host a one month training program for 20 African librarians.  Participants will attend the American Library Association conference. Merle Bowen said Center staff would be glad to participate in activities with the visiting African librarians. Administration of such programs is growing more difficult with mounting visa and other issues to overcome.

The IMLS/China project has received an extension. This is half funded by the U. S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and half by the Minist of Culture in China and as such is a high profile project. There are three aspects to this collaboration (1) sending U.S. librarians to China for training and Barbara has just returned with a group, (2) bringing Chinese Librarians to the U.S. with the next groups arriving in June, and (3) the development of a web portal. This is a high level government initiative which has had successful attendance at workshops in China. Beautiful public libraries are being built as well. Karen will distribute information for those who may be interested in participating in a future training program in China.

After years of communicating with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation about possible project collaborations a match was found. The title of the project is "Creating a Vision for Public Libraries-Training Library innovators." The Center contracted with Gates to work with two countries in which 12 librarians will come here for three weeks of training, then travel to another country with strong public libraries for a one week site visit. The librarians will devise projects while here then return home to implement them. They can apply for grant funding to carry out the projects. We had six applicant countries for this project. Rae Anne served on the selection committee. High priority was given in the selection process to those we felt could have the most impact in the shortest period time. The countries selected were Latvia and Romania. Susan will travel to Finland next week for a peer grantee meeting with Gates. This venture provides potential for future collaborations.

Paula inquired about the alternate countries who had made application. They are Poland, Mexico, Botswana, and Chile.

The center is happy to announce the 20th Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecturer this year will be Dr. Shalini Urs, Executive Director and Professor, International School of Information Management, University of Mysore, India. The lecture will take place on October 20 at 4pm in GSLIS 126 Lecture Room with a reception to follow.

April 24 through May 1 the Center will host 20 Ukrainian librarians focusing on "Innovative Libraries and Librarians." IREX applied to work with the Gates Foundation as well to bring this group to the U.S. to learn how libraries become more integrated into their communities, which is a Gates vision for libraries.

April 27th we will again welcome seven IFLA/OCLC fellows, each from a different country for a one-day program. These librarians will be at OCLC for several weeks, but each year they bring the group to spend the day at the Mortenson Center and to participate in a program developed for them.

This year will see a change to the traditional Mortenson Fall Program. We are in the process of revising the length, format and time of year to easier accommodate participants. Although there were many applicants for this year's program, less than ten had access to funding. As funding becomes less available for the seven week programs we have done in the past, we would like to devise a shorter, more focused and themed format that would enable more to attend. Also, by moving the program from fall to summer, housing will be much easier to attain. Another consideration was increased time in the field Barbara and Susan have been required to spend over the last 4-5 years. As the new program develops over the next few months we will also develop avenues for promoting it, such as at IFLA in Sweden.

Paula likes the summer program plan which would allow her much more interaction time with the participants she hosts.

There were no other topics so the meeting was adjourned.


Minutes prepared by Coral Daube