Past Projects

The Mortenson Center has participated in a wide variety of projects around the world. This list includes past Mortenson Center projects.

Latvia and Romania

Leaders and Innovators Training Program

Dates: 2009-2011

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.

“We welcome this unique opportunity to work with the Global Libraries initiative,” said Susan Schnuer, Associate Director at the Mortenson Center. “Through this work, we can build on the current training efforts and offer a professional development program that meets the needs of future public library leaders.”

Barbara Ford, Director of the Mortenson Center, adds, “We are very pleased to work with the initiative to strengthen the skills of public librarians in other countries so they can continue enhancing access to information for communities around the world.”

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.

China

Think Globally, Act Globally: China-US librarian Collaboration

Website: www.library.illinois.edu/china

Dates: September 1, 2008 until June 2010.

The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program supports professional development programs aimed at librarians and library staff, programs that enhance Library & Information Science (LIS) education and programs that develop library leaders. In a world increasingly concerned with global issues this proposed program provides a model for enhancing awareness among information professionals of Chinese information resources and for building collaboration between China and theU.S.

With its robust network of area studies libraries and subject specialists, and building on the experience of renowned Mortenson Center for International Library Programs and excellent Asian Library, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (VIUC) is uniquely well suited to lead this project. The Asian Library will lead the project with support from the Mortenson Center. The University of Illinois will enter into a formal agreement with another skilled and highly experienced partner, the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA). Finally the University of Illinois will work with the Ministry of Culture of China (MOC) as the planned primary collaborator in the project. This collaboration between the project partners and the Library Society of China will be critical to the successful implementation of the pilot project.

The goals of the two-year pilot project will be to enhance communication and relations between U.S. and Chinese librarians and to enrich the variety of information and services that U.S.librarians can offer their users. The target audiences include: U.S. librarians with expertise in the study of China and the Chinese Language; U.S. librarians responsible for providing service to Chinese-language communities; Chinese librarians with expertise and experience with publicly-available Chinese-language resources, collections and services; and Chinese librarians who may benefit from participation in a broad-based continuing professional education program focused on issues of library management, public services, and digital library development.

The activities of the project include professional development seminars to be delivered both in the U.S. and China; placement of Chinese librarians in institutions around the U.S. to provide an opportunity for education and cooperation; development of web-based resources for use in libraries in the US; and a workshop open to U.S. librarians to promote the web-based resources. Topics of the professional development seminars might include: library administration and leadership, management of information technology, application of standards for information technology project planning in libraries, best practices for resource discovery and sharing, and development of information products and services fostering appreciation and use of global information resources among target user communities.

Award: $500,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

Nigeria

Addressing the Information Needs of Nigerian Researchers, Scholars and Students: A Planning and Training Program for MacArthur Grantee University Libraries

Phase II

Dates: September 1, 2008 – August 31, 2011

Information and knowledge are the building blocks of a society which seeks to offer the best to its citizens. Access to information and knowledge in developing countries is at times difficult and expensive, even on university campuses. University libraries can and should play a key role in their societies by providing users with access to information in an effective and timely manner.

University libraries have a growing and evolving role as portals to knowledge and information,and therefore require additional resources and more technological expertise. Users want to be able to access information quickly, from a broad range of sources, and from a variety of locations.Librarians are critical in developing the strategies and systems to meet user needs.

In 2006 the Mortenson Center received a MacArthur grant to work with four MacArthur grantee university libraries in Nigeria. They are: Ahmadu Bello University, Bayero University, Ibadan University, and the University of Port Harcourt. In 2006 users of the universities libraries often faced a dark library, little or no access to computers, outdated materials, few journals (most were from the MacArthur Journal Donation program) and dilapidated seats and tables. The Mortenson Center staff visited one library where computer science students were learning how to work with computers by reading textbooks from the 1990’s. Many of the libraries functioned as study halls since the library was one of few places on campus where the students could sit to work and read.

The librarians were well aware of what needed to be done to meet the needs of their users. In most cases they were stymied by a lack of institutional support, paper catalogs and circulation records, stock that was outdated, poor physical plants, no power back-up, insufficient staff development, little interest from international library vendors, and limited access to training on how to automate a library. With the MacArthur grant, the Mortenson Center started to provide technical and professional development assistance.

The path to becoming a strong and robust research library, that meets the needs of its users, starts with implementing an automated library management system. This type of system, which allows users to use computers to find materials owned by the library, is the foundation of any modern university library. It also allows users to connect to the Internet and to take advantage of the wealth of information available globally. Once this system is implemented librarians can turn their attention to digitizing unique collections, offering access to the library’s catalog and electronic resources on the website to remote users, developing electronic course reserves, capturing the intellectual work of faculty on campus, and other vital library projects.

The goal of the project is to meet the needs of students, faculty and researchers at these four institutions by providing more efficient, reliable, and easy access to research and scholarly information. As of June 2008 the four MacArthur university libraries have begun to automate their libraries, a first step towards meeting the goal. With a second grant, the Mortenson Center proposes to work with the librarians to implement the cataloging, online catalog, circulation, and website functions for the new library management system, to assist the university libraries in providing greater access to their electronic resources, and to further develop a network of libraries in Nigeria focused on cooperation, and the sharing of resources and expertise.

Award: $201,000 from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

East and West Africa

Developing Automated Libraries – Phase II: A Professional Development and Technical Assistance Program for Carnegie Libraries in East and West Africa

Dates: January 1, 2009 – December 31, 2011

Information and knowledge are the building blocks of a society which seeks to offer the best to its citizens. Access to information and knowledge in developing countries is at times difficult and expensive, even on university campuses. University libraries can and should play a key role in their countries by providing users with access to information in an effective and timely manner.

University libraries have a growing and evolving role as portals to knowledge and information, and therefore require additional resources and more technological expertise. Users want to be able to access information quickly, from a broad range of sources, and from a variety of locations. Librarians are critical in developing the strategies and systems to meet user needs.

In 2005 the Mortenson Center started working with Carnegie grantee university libraries in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda. The librarians were well aware of what needed to be done to meet the needs of their users. In most cases they were stymied by a lack of institutional support, paper catalogs and circulation records, stock that was outdated, poor physical plants, no power back-up, little interest from international library vendors, and limited access to training on how to automate a library. Many of the libraries functioned as study halls since the library was one of few places on campus where the students could sit to work.

The Carnegie University Library are: Makerere University in Uganda; Dar es Salaam University in Tanzania; University of Ghana, Legon; University of Education, Winneba, Ghana; University of Jos,Nigeria; and Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria.

The path to becoming a strong and robust research library starts with implementing an automated library management system. This type of system, which allows users to use computers to find materials owned by the library, is the foundation of any modern university library. With this foundation librarians can turn their attention to digitizing unique collections, offering access to the library’s catalog and electronic resources from the same site, developing electronic course reserves, capturing the intellectual work of faculty on campus, and other vital library projects.

Design and Activities

The Carnegie grantee libraries are at different stages in terms of automation and automation related projects. The university libraries in East Africa have almost completed the implementation of a library management system and are ready to move on to other projects. The university libraries in West Africa are still focused on becoming automated.

There are two goals for the project, they are:
Goal 1: Carnegie grantee librarians in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda willfully implement an automated library management system, which will better serve the research and learning needs of the users.
Goal 2: All institutions will develop a team of librarians trained and able to manage automation and automation-related projects in their libraries.

Award: $380,000 from the Carnegie Corporation of New York

Addressing the Information Needs of Nigerian Researchers, Scholars, and Students: A Planning and Training Program for MacArthur Grantee University Libraries

Dates : January 1, 2006 – December 31, 2008

Objectives : To provide users of university libraries with better access to research and information materials, either in print or electronic format.

Outcomes : The project is intended to strengthen university libraries so that they can contribute to the development of robust research universities in Nigeria. Predicted outcomes for the project include

  • progress toward providing better access to research and information materials for users,
  • more visible and defined outreach services to the user community, and
  • campus support for a strong research library.

Award : $303,000 from the MacArthur Foundation

Developing an Automated and Dynamic Library Environment: A Planning, Training, and Implementation Program for Carnegie Grantee University Libraries

Dates : January 1, 2005 – March 31, 2008

Objectives : Assist librarians from seven Carnegie grantee institutions in East and West Africa to move into a fully developed, automated online catalog environment and a computer-based library management system that will better serve the research and learning needs of their users.

Outcome : All seven institutions will make measurable progress toward the implementation of a fully automated online library catalog and library management system.

Award : $500,000 from the Carnegie Corporation

U.S. and the World

Thinking Outside the Borders: Library Leadership in a World Community

Dates : October 2004 – September 2007

Objectives : Develop an international library leadership institute focused on negotiations, empowerment, fund-raising, and advocacy issues. Bring together mid-career librarians from Illinois, Arizona, and Nebraska with librarians from other countries to address issues of concern such as preservation and technology to improve and enhance skills and their ability to work with colleagues from other countries and cultures in addressing common challenges.

Outcome : Participants will develop strategies for communicating with colleagues around the world. Also, at the end of the project, a leadership institute kit will be available for others to use.

Partner : Illinois State Library

Award : $500,000 for a National Leadership Grant to the Illinois State Library and Mortenson Center from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services

90 Countries

Professional Development Program at the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs

Dates : August 1991 – present

Objectives : To provide a professional development program for visiting librarians that exposes them to current trends in librarianship and best practices in the field. All participants receive intensive training in the use of new technologies. Many attend conferences and participate in host visits to libraries across Illinois.

Outcomes : Over 700 librarians from 89 countries have participated in Mortenson Center programs. The Center welcomes all types of librarians and has had academic, public, school, and corporate librarians, among others. Participants in the program have returned to their home countries to contribute actively to the leadership of their library or in the field of librarianship. Many have gone on to become directors.

Partners : Association of Information Specialists, Tbilisi, Georgia; Center for Professional Development of Librarians in Central America, University of Costa Rica; Luis Angel Arango Library of the Banco de la República, Bogotá, Colombia; Illinois State Library, Springfield,Illinois; Japan Association of National University Libraries (JANUL); Japan Association of Private University Libraries (JASPUL), Tokyo, Japan; Library and Information Association of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa; Training Center “Rudomino School,” All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature, Moscow, Russia.

Funding Sources : Open Society Institute-Network Library Program; Freedom Support Act -Muskie Fellows; Fulbright program; Luis Angel Arango Library of the Banco de la República, Bogotá, Colombia; Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations; JANUL; JASPUL.

Japan

Short-Term Visits

Dates : October 25-27, 2004, and October 24-27, 2005

Objectives : To provide continuing education for librarians from the Japan Association of Private University Libraries.

Outcomes : Librarians from private universities in Japan spent one week at theMortenson Center, with emphasis on academic libraries and user services.

Partner : Japan Association of Private University Libraries

Award : Program funded by the Japan Association of Private University Libraries

Nigeria

Needs Assessment: Review of MacArthur Library Grantees’ Needs in Nigeria

Dates : January 1, 2005 – June 30, 2005

Objectives : Assess capabilities of the libraries of four MacArthur university grantees in Nigeria relating to the role of the library, level of technology, status of library automation, and staff training needs.

Outcome : Observations from the trip will be analyzed and recorded in a report ( Developing StrongUniversity Libraries in Nigeria: A Report for the MacArthur Foundation ) .

Award : $44,965 from the MacArthur Foundation

Africa

Needs Assessment: Review of the Carnegie Library Grantees’ Needs in Africa

Dates : January 1, 2004 – April 1, 2004

Objectives : Assess capabilities of the libraries of seven Carnegie university grantees in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda relating to technology, facilities, library services to users, and staff training needs.

Outcomes : Mortenson Center staff visited seven grantees and prepared a report ( Opportunities and Challenges for the Academic Libraries of Carnegie Grantees in East and West Africa ) for the Carnegie Corporation on challenges and opportunities for the libraries and professional development needs and recommendations for librarians to create excellent libraries.

Award : $42,600 from the Carnegie Corporation

South Africa

The South African Library Leadership Project

Dates : January 2001 – April 30, 2005

Objectives : To implement a leadership program for future library managers from public and academic libraries and to plan for a continuing education entity within the newly established Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA).

Outcomes : Twenty-three academic, public, and school librarians participated in theprogram. Many have been promoted upon their return home; eight currently hold elected leadership positions in the library association. The continuing education entity was developed and implemented at LIASA and recently received a large award from the Carnegie Foundation to deliver professional development programs in South Africa.

Partner : Library and Information Association of South Africa

Funding : Two awards for a total of $300,000 from the Mellon Foundation

Georgia

Library and Information Science Education and Library Development in Georgia

Dates : November 6 – 14, 2004

Objectives : International advisory board to make recommendations concerning thecontinuing education structure for librarians and developing a school in information studies thatwould offer a master’s level degree.

Outcomes : The international advisory board met with university and government officials and prepared a report with recommendations concerning expanding and solidifying the continuing education structure and developing a school in information studies that would offer a master’s level degree.

Partner : Association of Information Specialists, Tbilisi, Georgia

Award : United States Embassy funded travel costs.

Kenya

Professional Development for Carnegie Grantees in Kenya

Dates : July 1, 2003 – December 31, 2003

Objectives : To provide continuing education for public librarians from Kenya who workwith the Carnegie Corporation program for revitalizing public libraries.

Outcomes : Five librarians from the Kenya National Library Service spent eight weeks in a leadership and project management training program at the Mortenson Center, with emphasis on library advocacy, strategic planning, and technology. Participants returned home to work with Carnegie’s program on revitalizing public libraries and to provide training to other Kenyan public librarians.

Partner : Illinois State Library

Award : $48,900 from the Carnegie Corporation

Russia

University Librarian Training: Education Innovation Project

Dates : May 2003

Objectives : Research and development of policies and practices that address the needs of Russian university libraries.

Activities : Two-week training program at the University of Illinois for threesubgroups of specialists:

  • Directors and deputy directors of university libraries and library specialists
  • Higher education administrators responsible for developing university libraries
  • Information technology experts specializing in library science

Partner : American Councils for International Education

Funding : $42,000

Haiti

Professional Development Program for Haitian Librarians

Dates : August 1997 – June 2003

Objectives : To work with a team of Haitian trainers to develop the framework of a network of community libraries in Haiti. To develop a training program for library workers in Haiti by training trainers.

Outcomes : Nine Haitian library trainers participated in the program. There is now a newly built model library in Port-au-Prince. The community library network now includes 40 small rural libraries in Haiti. The trainers have given several training sessions to the library workers.

Partner : Foundation Connaissance et Liberte (FOKAL) – Open Society Institute

Funding : First grant of $36,250 from Open Society Institute – Library Network Program;second grant of $30,000 from FOKAL

Russia

Russia Small Towns Project

Dates : May 2001 – June 2002

Objectives : The project was designed to help Russian small-town libraries become vibrant information centers for their communities.

Activities : In May 2001, 10 public library directors and culture officials visited the United States and met with university officials, mayors, city officials, and librarians in the state of Illinois.

In January 2002, a group of 10 U.S. librarians and government officials visited small towns in Russia to participate in discussions and lectures with Russian colleagues.

In June 2002, three Russian mayors visited Illinois to gain a better understanding of the role of a public library in civil society.

Outcomes : This project highlighted libraries and their important contribution to the life of a town. Russian officials understood better the purpose of a strong library and the librarians were better able to articulate their needs and the needs of their users.

Partner : Illinois State Library

Funding : Multiple awards from Open Society Institute-Russia and the Illinois State Library

Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Mortenson Center Training Fellowships

Dates : February 2001 – August 2001

Objectives : To train specialists from the Open Society Institute-Network Library Program Training Center. Participants in the program focused on two main topics: intellectual freedom and open access to information in libraries and library management issues.

Outcomes : Seven specialists from the training center attended the program. All returned home with prepared workshops and delivered the workshops to librarians in their countries. The librarians built a strong network and an electronic listserv, which is very active.

Funding : $31,099 from Open Society Institute-Budapest

 

Russia

 

Training for the 21st Century: Using the Internet to Facilitate Access to Information

Dates : July 1998 – January 2000

Objectives : To prepare teams of librarians and computer specialists to provide training for users of university Internet centers and libraries.

Outcomes : A total of 14 teams were trained (27 people) at the Mortenson Center. The teams delivered many “Access to the Internet” workshops upon their return home.

Partner : Training Center “Rudomino School,” All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature

Funding : $217,587 from Open Society Institute-Network Library Program

 

Central America

 

A Bridge to the Future: A Continuing Professional Development Program for Librariansin Central America

Dates : April 1997 – December 1999

Objectives : To provide a training-the-trainer program for librarians in four countries in Central America (Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua) who will develop a continuing education network for librarians in the four countries. To develop a continuing education regional administrative center at the University of Costa Rica, School of Library and Information Science.

Outcomes : Six librarians participated in the training-the-trainer sessions at the Mortenson Center and returned home to hold four professional development seminars. The Continuing Education Center, CABCE, was established at the University of Costa Rica and has coordinated the provision of workshops in the region.

Partner : University of Costa Rica

Award : $246,000 from the Mellon Foundation

 

NIS Countries

 

Leadership Training for Librarians from the NIS

Dates : May 1994 – June 1996

Objectives : To prepare librarians from the NIS to train other librarians in the tools and technologies of librarianship, the development of leadership cadres for times of change, and library management.

Outcomes : Fifty librarians from NIS countries attended a five-day training in Moscow, Russia, and gained skills in automation, fund-raising, electronic communication, and personnel management. The Rudomino School coordinated additional training once participants returned home to their countries. Two librarians attended a four-month program at the Mortenson Center and became trainers for other librarians in NIS countries.

Partner : Training Center “Rudomino School,” All-Russia State Library for ForeignLiterature

Funding : $50,000 from the Eurasia Foundation

 

Central America

 

Leadership Development in Academic and Research Libraries in Central America

Dates : October 1993 – December 1996

Objectives : To provide a leadership program for 10 academic librarians in four countries in Central America (Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua) that focused on partnerships and cooperation. To equip each participating library with a computer and Internet access.

Outcomes : Ten librarians participated in the program and returned home with a computer to introduce new technologies into their libraries. Many of the librarians went on to become directors of their libraries.

Award : $180,000 from the Mellon Foundation

Former Soviet Union

Visits by Art Librarians From Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union

Dates : August 1993 – December 1996

Objectives : To select participants from academic, research, art, and museum libraries in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to attend a professional development program focused on highlighting the latest trends and electronic tools used in art libraries.

Outcomes : Thirteen librarians participated in this project and improved their skills in the areas of service to the users, collection acquisitions and management, development of policies for art libraries, and professional association development.

Funding : $146,500 from the Getty Grant Foundation