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Staff Biographies

Clara M. Chu

Director and Mortenson Distinguished Professor

Clara Chu

Clara M. Chu began her role as director and Mortenson Distinguished Professor on June 1, 2015. She brings more than two decades of professional knowledge and experiences to advance the mission of the Mortenson Center in this dual role.

In addition to having published in leading international journals and presented at conferences around the world in English and Spanish, Dr. Chu has held successive leadership positions in ethnic, regional, national, and international professional library and information associations. She serves as a member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Governing Board and Professional Committee, and as the chair of IFLA’s Division IV (Supporting the Profession).

Dr. Chu earned her bachelor’s degree (a major in Spanish language and literature and a minor in psychology and French) from the University of British Columbia and her master’s and doctoral degree in library science from the University of Western Ontario. She comes to Illinois from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) where she was a professor and past chair of the Department of Library and Information Studies. She joined UNCG in 2009 after approximately 20 years as a faculty member at the Department of Information Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles. Dr. Chu specializes in the social construction of library and information use, practices, and systems that impact access and collective memory in multicultural communities. Her transnational, ethnic minority, and multilingual background provides her a distinctive and critical lens in the social study of information issues to transform professional practice and education internationally.

Paula Kaufman

Paula Kaufman

Paula Kaufman joined the Center as its Interim Director in September 2014. She was appointed University Librarian in 1999.  In 2008 she was invested as the Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian and served in that position until August 2013. During the 2005-2006 academic year, she was Acting Chief Information Officer. Prior to joining Illinois, Kaufman served as dean of libraries at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (1988-99) and in a variety of positions at Columbia University including Acting Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian, from 1979 to 1988. She also worked as a librarian at Yale University and McKinsey and Company, and was a co-founder and partner in Information for Business, New York City.

Kaufman received her A.B. in Economics from Smith College, her M.S. in Library Science from Columbia University, and an M.B.A. in management from the University of New Haven.

She has written and presented in venues around the world on topics of Return on Investment and Library Value, leadership, new service models, risk taking, and privacy, among others. Kaufman’s record of service to the profession includes serving as a member of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Board of Directors from 1997-2003, including a term as president from 2001-02; a founding board member of the Consortium of Academic Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) from 2005-2013; a member of the Center for Research Libraries Board of Directors from 1994-2000, including a term as chair in 1996; and as a member of the HATHI Trust executive committee from 2008 to 2012. Currently, she serves on the boards of the Digital Preservation Network and the Champaign Public Library and on the Advisory Board of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. In 1987 Kaufman testified at hearings about the FBI’s “Library Awareness Program.”

Kaufman has been honored with the Illinois Library Association Illinois Academic Librarian of the Year Award (2011), the Hugh C. Atkinson Award (2010), which is jointly sponsored by ACRL/ALCTS/LLAMA/LITA, the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year award (2012), and the Robert Downs Intellectual Freedom Award (1989). 

Susan Schnuer

Susan Schnuer

Susan Schnuer has worked at the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs for the past twenty-one years and is current the Associate Director. The Mortenson Center is a unique program located at the University of Illinois in the United States. The Center offers intensive professional development programs tailored to meet the needs of librarians around the world. Schnuer has been involved in the development and implementation of professional development programs for the over 1200 librarians from more than 90 countries. Schnuer has extensive experience with leadership programs.

She has worked on country specific professional development projects in Bhutan, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador,  Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Myanmar,  Nepal,  Nicaragua, Nigeria, People’s Republic of China, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Uganda, and Vietnam. Schnuer’s focus has been to develop and deliver high quality professional development programs that meet the specific needs of a library community.

Schnuer received her B.A. from Tufts University, her M. Ed. From Boston College, and her M.S. in Library Science from the University of Illinois.

Schnuer has been invited to present at meetings and conferences world-wide on a full range of library-related topics.  She has been actively involved for many years with the International Relations Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA) and has participated fully in activities of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).

She began her career as a bilingual education teacher in the Boston area then worked as a trainer for a number of years at the National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education in Washington D.C. 

Schnuer is a Notable Member of the ALA’s International Relations Round Table. In 2013, Schnuer was honored to be awarded John Ames Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Award for International Librarianship by the International Relations Committee of the American Library Association. She was also presented with the Honorary Lifetime Member award from the Library and Information Association of South Africa.