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Staff Biographies

Clara Chu

Clara M. Chu

Director and Mortenson Distinguished Professor

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.

Susan Schnuer

Susan Schnuer

Susan Schnuer has worked at the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs for the past twenty-five 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. 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 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).

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.


Rebecca McGuire

Rebecca McGuire

Rebecca McGuire began working as the Visiting Instructional Technology Specialist at the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs in March 2015. She is primarily assisting with the development of an online multimedia library leadership toolkit for librarians worldwide, which is sponsored by a Bill & Melinda Gates Grant.

Rebecca received her B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa, where she majored in Political Science and International Affairs. She received her MSLIS from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2015. During her time at GSLIS, she worked as a Graduate Assistant at the GSLIS Help Desk and Instructional Technology & Design Office, interned in the Instructional Design department of Credo Reference, and volunteered at the Champaign Public Library. She has also worked on educational projects in South Africa and Nicaragua.