Jan 5, 2010
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.
The Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, the only one of its kind in the world, was established in 1991. It is a professional, non-degree program that seeks to strengthen international ties among libraries and librarians, regardless of geographic location or access to technology. Over 800 librarians from 89 countries have already taken advantage of programming through the Mortenson Center. For more information, please visit www.library.illinois.edu/mortenson.