Staff Biographies

Clara Chu

Clara M. Chu

Director and Mortenson Distinguished Professor

Curriculum Vitae | Abridged CV

Clara M. Chu began her role as Director and Mortenson Distinguished Professor on June 1, 2015. A leading voice in equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in international context, she brings more than two decades of academic knowledge and professional experience to advance the mission of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs. Dr. Chu publishes, presents and consults worldwide in English and Spanish on library and information science (LIS) education, EDI, strategic planning and leadership, research methods, marketing and promotion of libraries, library trends and emerging technologies, among other topics. Her research focuses on the social construction of library and information use, practices, and systems that impact access and collective memory in diverse 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.

Committed to advancing the LIS field, Dr. Chu has held successive leadership positions in ethnic, regional, national, and international associations. She is Co-Chair of the IFLA Building Strong LIS Education Working Group, was president of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) and the Association of Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), and was ALA representative on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO. She is Coeditor-in-Chief of Library Trends, serves on the editorial board of International Journal of Information, Diversity, & Inclusion, and co-edited the International Insights Column of College & Research Libraries News. She has been honored for her research, teaching and professional contributions locally and nationally; most recently, she was awarded the 2019 EMIERT Distinguished Librarian Award and the 2018 American Library Association’s Beta Phi Mu Award for distinguished service to education for librarianship.

Dr. Chu earned her bachelor’s degree (Spanish language and literature major, and psychology and French minors) from the University of British Columbia and her master’s and doctoral degrees in library science from the University of Western Ontario. She came 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.


Kathleen Ebeling

Office Support Specialist 

After spending over a decade as a museum professional, Katie joins the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs from Minnesota where she served as the Assistant Registrar to a large history museum where she worked on local and international loan agreements, assisted with exhibit installation, artifact conservation reports and packaged artifacts for shipment before moving back to the Champaign-Urbana area in April of 2018.  She works alongside Dr. Chu to aid in the Mortenson Center’s contribution to international education, understanding and peace.