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Welcome to the Mortenson Center

Since the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs was founded in 1991, over 1,300 library professionals from 90 countries have participated in the Center's innovative programs. We also work with our librarian colleagues in countries around the world. 
Find out more on our  "About Us" page.

Libraries for Peace

The Mortenson Center invites libraries and librarians around the world to take part in our International Peace Day initiative. Visit the Libraries for Peace webpage ( to learn about what   libraries are doing to promote peace,   how they can initiate their own efforts, and   where these actions are taking place to discuss and share ideas of libraries and peacebuilding and to serve as an information hub for an international library celebration and action day for peace. 

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2013 January

2012 August

2012 April

2012 January

2011 August

2011 April

2011 January

2010 August

2010 January Newsletter


2009 Mortenson Associates Program

The fall 2009 Mortenson Center program included 14 librarians from 9 countries including Colombia, Georgia, Japan, Nigeria, South Korea, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, and Vietnam.  Many colleagues helped us make the program a success for our international visitors.  Thank you to Aaron Enright, Amy George and Team, Beth German, Betsy Kruger, Bryan McMurray, Camilla Fulton, Carol Erickson, Chatham Ewing, Cindy Kelly, Dawn Cassady, Delin Guerra, Emily Love, Frances Jacobson Harris, Kathryn Harris, Heather Murphy, Jan Ison, Jan Kijowski, Jane Treadwell, Jennifer Hain Teper, Jill Gengler, Jim Hahn, John Hoffman, Barbara Jones, Kathleen Kern, Kathleen Weibel, Kim Sheahan, Nancy Lensenmayer and OCLC staff, Lisa Hinchliffe, Lori Mestre, Marsha Grove, Martin Wolske, Merinda Hensley, Peggy Barber, Rae Anne Montague, Robert Burger, Roxanne Frey, Rudy Leon, Sarah Shreeves, Joe Sciacca, Susan Buchanan, Paula Kaufman, Alice Cisna, Janice Pilch, Jill  Craft, Cheryl Hinkel, Don Barlow, Greta Bever, Stephen Smith, Don Barlow, Robert Doyle, JoAnn Jacoby, Kelsey Keyes, Laura Larkin, Beth Woodard, Kristina Hoerner, Jo Kibbee, Joseph Lenkart, Greg Olson, Lynne Rudasill, Paula Carns, Mary Beth Allen, Qiang Jin, Robert Slater, John Andrick, Scott Walter, Setsuko Noguchi, Yoo-Seong Song, Debra Lissak, Tom Teper, Mary Laskowski, Wendy Shelburne, Diane Schmidt, John Wagstaff, Scott Schwartz, Karen Schmidt and IWU staff, Kate Porter from Upper Arlington, and Steve Ayers for their interaction with colleagues and assistance with the program.


19th Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture

The 2009 lecture, “Isolation and Information Famine Stifling Africa’s Growth”, by Ellen Tise, President of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions for 2009-2011 and  Senior Director of Library and Information Services at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa was very well received. You can read or listen to the lecture at 

Ideas are always welcome for future lecturers. 


Carnegie and MacArthur Africa Grants

The grants have been renewed for three years to assist ten grant supported university libraries in Africa to become automated. This will be the last renewal and we are quite pleased with the progress and ownership of the initiative by the grantees. Susan was in Nigeria in November and will go back in March to continue to move the project forward there. In February Susan and Barbara will visit Tanzania and Ghana to finalize plans for the next two years of the grant. In May Barbara will go to Uganda with trainers to discuss how to use automation to enhance library services to university students and faculty. Current plans are that in June and July, 20 librarians from the grantee institutions will spend several weeks at the Mortenson Center.


IMLS China Grant 

The Center continues to work with Shuyong Jiang and Karen Wei on the collaborative grant with the Chinese American Librarians Association funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. An extension of the grant through November 2011 has been approved. We plan to have two groups of Chinese public librarians here in 2010. The program for one group will focus on continuing education and the program for the other group will focus on technology. U.S. librarians will make trips in March and May to China to provide educational programs. The principal investigators are continuing to work on the web portal of Chinese materials for U.S. users and a program is planned to be held in June for U.S. public librarians to share information about the portal project. 


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Contract

The Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support a training program for public librarians in other countries. 

Global Libraries, an initiative of the foundation’s Global Development Program, is working to transform public libraries into vital resources that can help improve the lives of millions of people. The initiative works with select countries that demonstrate a need and a readiness to help public libraries provide free access to computers and the Internet, and training on how to make full use of these tools.

Two of the foundation’s Global Libraries country programs will be selected to participate in the Mortenson Center program. The Mortenson Center program will expose potential public library leaders and innovators from these countries to different models of successful public libraries.  The goal is to provide these individuals with the opportunity to study the policies, services, and funding sources that are necessary to fully support a library system, which is both responsive to the needs of a community and proactive in addressing the information needs of users.   

The training will consist of a three-week program in the United States, followed by a one-week visit to another country with excellent libraries. It will focus on a changing library environment due in part to the influx of new electronic tools and services.


Expected 2010 Mortenson Center Visitors

Ukrainian public librarians (23 expected) in April

Jay Jordan IFLA/OCLC Fellows from Jamaica, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Kenya, Pakistan, China in April

Chinese public librarians (2 groups of 10 each expected) in June

African university librarians (20 from Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda expected) in June and July

Mortenson Associates in September and October


Additional Information

Contact Barbara Ford ( or Susan Schnuer ( for additional information.