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Mortenson Center Advisory Committee Minutes

Mortenson Center Advisory Committee Minutes

Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 4 pm

142 Undergraduate Library

 

In attendance: Barbara Ford (chair), Susan Schnuer, Paula Carns, Merle Bowen, Alistair Black, Kathleen Kern, Richard Tempest, Harriet Green, Lynne Rudasill, and Wolfgang Schloer

 

The meeting began with introductions.

Barbara reviewed the committee charge and composition. She then gave a brief history of the Mortenson Center and its function within the university, noting the Center is the only one of its kind in the world.

The Center is in its fifth and final year of the Carnegie and MacArthur grants working with specific university libraries within Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda. Goals accomplished include securing hardware and software into those facilities and training staff. Between 40 and 50 African librarians and information technology professionals have been brought to the center for training with this initiative. In this final year, we are now using regional trainers for onsite staff training.

Shuyong Jiang is the PI for the IMLS/China project, which has received a one-year extension. This is funded half by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and half by the Ministry 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. The Center works with Shuyong in a consultation capacity on this project.

One of the newer projects at the center is a Gates Foundation contract focusing on sustainability and leadership for two of nine Gates grantee public libraries in Eastern Europe. A competition was held to select the two countries we work with in these efforts. In September and October, 15 Latvian librarians from small rural libraries were at the center for a specialized training program. In March and April we will host an additional 15 librarians from county and regional libraries in Romania.

Alistair inquired if Informatics at GSLIS had been considered for involvement with these groups and Susan said there had been a session on PhotoVoice included in the Latvian programming.

Dr. Shalini Urs of India was the 20th Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecturer on October 20, 2010. Dr. Urs is the Executive Director of the International School of Information management at the University of Mysore. Her presentation on digital libraries was well received by the campus community.

The lecture for 2011 is being moved from October to February and our guest speaker will be Elisabeth Pierre Louis of Haiti. She is not only a graduate of the UIUC GSLIS program, but also the Program Director for FOKAL. The lecture will be held on February 16 at 3pm in Room 126 of GSLIS.

The IFLA/OCLC International Fellows groups will once again visit the center in the spring for a day of programming. The group of 6 will include librarians from Botswana, Nepal, Philippines, Malawi, China, and Serbia.

In addition to these one-day short visits, the Center has also been fortunate to be included in hosting international dignitaries such as Consul Generals through the International Programs and Studies Department.

The newest potential project for the center is a grant secured by Paula Kaufman from the Elsevier Foundation to investigate possible training opportunities in Asia. Paula, Barbara, and Susan will travel to South Korea and Taiwan in December and then follow-up with Elsevier with their observations and recommendations for potential projects.

The Mortenson Center's signature program has been restructured into a shorter, more discipline-focused training program and will now be offered in May/June as opposed to September/October. This is an open enrollment program that typically includes 15 to 20 library and information science professionals from many countries. The title of the 2011 program is "Librarians of Tomorrow: Communication and Leadership," and will run from May 30 through June 20, 2010. The participants will then have the opportunity to attend ALA in New Orleans at the conclusion of their training at the Mortenson Center.

Paula inquired if the Center will continue to offer the Friends portion of the Associate's Program to UIUC staff and faculty. The consensus was that this is a worthwhile aspect of the program that allows others to become involved in the Center's activities and outreach.

A short discussion was held about the challenges with staying in touch with past Mortenson Associates. Barbara noted the Center is considering evaluation processes for such issues. Wolfgang suggested there are doctorate students at International Programs and Studies who are currently working on evaluation and always looking for new project opportunities.

There were no other topics so the meeting was adjourned.

 

Minutes prepared by Coral Daube