Mortenson Center Awarded New Grant

Nov 17, 2014

The Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been awarded a $521,014 three-year grant, which will help make leadership training accessible to librarians around the world.

With the funding, the Center will work toward strengthening library training providers’ ability to deliver high-quality leadership training to public librarians in order to help them position their libraries to meet critical community needs and to offer access to information and knowledge.

“There is a need for easy-to-use, high-quality, and affordable library leadership training materials in many areas of the world. With the help of this grant, we hope to develop these materials in a multimedia format, and make them widely available and accessible,” said the Center’s Associate Director Susan Schnuer. “What an exciting opportunity.”

During the development of the training materials, the Center will pilot-test them with three different library training providers in three distinct geographical locations: Myanmar, Namibia, and Armenia. The library training providers in these countries will then train 100 public and community librarians in their respective countries. An evaluation report will capture the development process and the impact of the training materials.


Mortenson Center for International Library Programs Launches the Leaders and Innovators Training Program

January 6, 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 .

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library holds over eleven million volumes, more than 90,000 serial titles, and more than nine million manuscripts, maps, slides, audio tapes, microforms, videotapes, laser discs, and other non-print material. The University Library is ranked highly nationally and globally, and its collections and services are used heavily by students, faculty, and scholars. More than one million items are circulated annually, and many more are used on site and virtually from anywhere in the world. For more information, please visit .


Mortenson Center Awarded MacArthur and Carnegie Grants

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has given a three-year grant for the Center to continue working with four university libraries in Nigeria  … “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. ”

The Carnegie Corporation of New York has provided funding for a three-year grant to work with seven university libraries in East and West Africa.

There are two goals for the project, they are:
Goal 1: Carnegie grantee librarians in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda will fully 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.


Prestigious Grant Collaboration with Chinese Librarians (2008)

From the University Library press release :

“The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library has received a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant for $499,582 from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)…

The “Think Globally, Act Globally” agreement establishes a cooperative and cultural exchange between American and Chinese librarians.  Under the agreement, the Asian Library and the Mortenson Center from the University of Illinois will partner with the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA), and the Library Society of China.  These organizations will work together on the implementation of a two-year pilot project to enhance communication and relations between American and Chinese librarians and to enrich the variety of information and services that U.S. librarians can offer their users.  Activities will include training in the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and the development of a website for publicly available Chinese information resources for use in U.S. libraries.”

“Think Globally, Act Globally” website