2003 December Newsletter


Information Competencies: A Bridge to Narrow North-South Knowledge Gaps was the title of the 2003 Mortenson Distinguished Lecture presented by Jesus Lau from Mexico on Tuesday, September 23, 2003. In addition to the lecture, Dr. Lau met with campus faculty and librarians to discuss information literacy issues. The lecture is available on the Mortenson Center website for anyone who wants to listen to it or view the powerpoint presentation.


Fifteen librarians from seven countries (Kenya, Colombia, Russia, Japan, India, Nigeria, South Africa) were at the Mortenson Center this fall. An eight week program, including classes and library visits, was developed for the group with presentations by a number of faculty. Suzanne Bernsten, Bob Burger, Barbara Ford, Nelly Gonzalez, Frances Harris, Al Kagan, Paula Kaufman, Cindy Kelly, Joyce Latham, Norma Linton, Lian Ruan, Susan Schnuer, Sue Searing, Jennifer Teper, Tom Teper, Terry Weech, and Karen Wei each spoke to the group and provided important information and insights. Mortenson Friends for the group included Stephanie Atkins, Rajwant Chilana, Katie Clark, Nelly Gonzalez, David Griffiths, Lisa Hinchliffe, Karen Hogenboom, Jing Liao, Setsuko Noguchi, Lynne and Tom Rudasill, Sue Searing, Peggy Steele, Caroline Szylowicz, Karen Wei, Lynn Wiley, and Joyce Wright. The Friends program has become a very important part of what is offered to our international visitors, and we thank all of you who befriended the Mortenson Associates as well as those of you who made presentations for the group. (If I have missed anyone who was involved, please let me know).

The Illinois State Library host program sent Mortenson Associates to spend time at Cahokia Public Library, Dominican University, EPA Library, Illinois State University Library, Jacksonville Public Library, Northern Illinois University Library, Parkland College Library, Talking Book and Braille Center at the Illinois State Library, and the University of Illinois at Springfield. Our partnership with the Illinois State Library grows stronger each year and provides very good experiences for our interns.

We also had several short term visitors this fall from Honduras, Croatia, and Armenia. Barbara Ford, Roxanne Frey, Curt McKay, Janice Pilch, Miranda Remnek, Susan Schnuer, Dale Silver, Linda Smith, and Terry Weech made presentations to these groups.


In an ongoing collaboration with CABCE (Center for Professional Development of Librarians in Central America) at the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Costa Rica, a workshop was held in December. It focused on leadership, negotiation and empowerment, and 25 people from a variety of library settings participated. Susan presented sessions on fund raising, and Barbara spoke about library associations at the sessions held December 2-4. The workshop was partly funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources in an ongoing collaborative effort to develop leadership training that can be used in a variety of international settings.


The Mortenson Center received a Carnegie Corporation grant to support the participation of the five directors of the Carnegie model public libraries in Kenya in the fall Associates program. We have recently applied for and are waiting to hear about a Carnegie grant to work with university libraries in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda.


Several associates from the fall will be with us for part of 2004. We anticipate that IFLA/OCLC fellows will be with us for a week in May. We are working on several proposals, mostly responding to conversations we have had with potential funding agencies.


  • September 15 and 29 and October 6, the Fall 2003 American Libraries Seminar for International Visitors and Students was presented by the Mortenson Center and GSLIS.
  • October 2, librarians from Indiana University Libraries visited the Mortenson Center and met with a number of librarians about international issues.
  • October 16, Susan, Barbara and the Mortenson Associates spoke about the Mortenson Center at the Illinois Library Association annual conference in Springfield.
  • October 29, Barbara spoke to the GSLIS SLA Student Chapter on Finding International Jobs and How to Make Any Job International.
  • November 17, Barbara presented a paper at the Information Technologies, Computer Systems and Publications in Libraries Seventh International Conference and Exhibition in Moscow and extended greetings from the University of Illinois and Mortenson Center.


We always need people who are interested in serving as Mortenson friends to work with Associates and help them get oriented to the library and community. If you would like more information or are interested in getting involved in any Mortenson Center activities, please let us know. Visit us at www.library.uiuc.edu/mortenson or contact us by e-mail to Barbara J. Ford at bjford@uiuc.edu and Susan Schnuer at schnuer@uiuc.edu.