2005 January Newsletter

Mortenson Distinguished Lecture

The 14th Annual Mortenson Distinguished lecture was Tuesday, October 26, in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. The topic was Managing and Transforming an African University. The same presentation was made on October 27 at the Illinois State Library in Springfield.

The Distinguished Lecturer was Pancras J. M. Ssebuwufu who served as chief academic and administrative officer of Makerere University, the premier institution of higher education in Uganda, and a traditional leader of higher education in East Africa. In 1996, he was named Administrator of the Year by the major daily newspaper, The New Vision. Professor Ssebuwufu provided background on Makerere University which was established in 1922 as a Technical College and, in 1970, became the National University of Uganda. The period 1970-1990 was a time of economic crisis, student and staff unrest, high staff turn-over and excessive government control. In the 1990s, in response to excess demand for higher education, Makerere expanded enrollment and instituted academic reforms including evening and distance programs, quality assurance and gender equity. Financial reform was addressed and privatization and international partners helped transform the university. Priorities in the strategic plan include information and communications technology, library services, research, science-based disciplines, good governance and human rights, and gender mainstreaming. Makerere is now a vibrant institution and has had a profound impact on the educational sector. You can now listen to, or read, the very interesting lecture on the Mortenson web site.

Fall 2004 Mortenson Associates

Seventeen librarians from six countries were at the Mortenson Center for the fall Associates program from September 7 until November 5. Seven South African librarians were funded by the Mellon Association in the third phase of a grant with the Library and Information Association of South Africa. As in previous years, five Colombian librarians were funded by the Banco de la Republica in Bogota. Two Vietnamese librarians were funded by a grant that Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand has received. For a second year, an academic librarian from Japan was sponsored by the Japan Association of Private University Libraries. The academic librarians from Kenya and Uganda were funded by their universities and from a small endowment established by a donor of the Mortenson Center. A special thanks to Paula Carns, Katie Clark, Nelly Gonzalez, David Griffiths, Janice Harrington, Frances Harris, Al Kagan, Setsuko Noguchi, Michael Norman, Lynne and Tom Rudasill, Fred Schlipf, Diane Schmidt, Dale Silver, Anna Maria Watkin, Karen Wei, and Joyce Wright who were friends to the fall Associates. Jaclyn Bedoya, Barbara Ford, Lisa German, Francis Harris, Susan Harum, Chong Hwey-Fee, Jan Isom, Paula Kaufman, Cindy Kelly, Kathleen Kern, Amy Maroso, Bev Obert, Lian Ruan, Fred Schlipf, Susan Schnuer, Wendy Shelburne, Dale Silver, Sue Searing, Eric Sizemore, Becky Smith, Terry Weech, and Dana Wright made presentations to the Associates. The Illinois State Library again worked with us to provide an excellent program in Springfield and site visits to libraries around the state for the Mortenson Associates. Jean Wilkins will be missed as Director of the Illinois State Library where she nurtured the partnership with the Mortenson Center. The Associates made presentations at the Illinois Library Association and had the opportunity to meet and share experiences with many Illinois librarians. Visits from Carol Erickson of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, ALA president Carol Brey-Casiano, and Vice Chair of the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science Bridget Lemont also added to the program.

Japan Association of Private University Libraries

In addition to a librarian who participated in the fall Mortenson Associates program, two groups of librarians from the Japan Association of Private University Libraries visited the Mortenson Center during October. One group was a week-long study tour of U.S. libraries, and the second group visited for one day to see the Mortenson Center. Special thanks to Setsuko Noguchi without whom we could not have hosted these groups. Lisa German, Paula Kaufman, Kathleen Kern, Amy Maroso, Bill Mischo, Lynn Wiley, and Karen Schmidt all met with these librarians and shared their expertise. They also visited Illinois Wesleyan University, Parkland College, and the Illinois State Library.

University of Toronto

Librarians from the University of Toronto visited UIUC in September. Several proposals for collaboration developed from this visit. They include discussions on: sharing and distributing information about international activities in our libraries; short term visits by librarians between Toronto and UIUC; developing collaborative training modules for international visitors; cooperation on digital content development; institutional repositories; digital librarianship and training programs for librarians; collaborative collection development; digital/virtual reference; information literacy; cultural exchanges between the libraries; University of Toronto law library’s women’s right database.

Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Grant

The Illinois State Library, in partnership with the Mortenson Center, has received a grant of $500,000 to develop, test, and implement a library leadership program to promote greater understanding and appreciation of the world community in which librarians work. The project will bring together librarians who have participated in the Illinois State Library’s Synergy program and a group of librarians from among the 76 countries with which the Mortenson Center works. We will work together in a leadership training program and, in a second phase, extend the training program to a group of mid-career librarians from Mexico, who will interact with U.S. librarians from Nebraska and Arizona as well as from Illinois. Susan and Barbara both attended an IMLS workshop on outcome-based planning and evaluation in Washington, D.C., in November.

MacArthur and Carnegie Foundation Grants for Africa

A new grant from the MacArthur Foundation will support a needs assessment of four university libraries in Nigeria. Mortenson Center staff and a consultant will visit these universities in spring 2005 and assess the role of the library and technology and automation development and recommend professional development needs. This is very similar to the Carnegie Foundation grant which we received last year to work with assessing the needs of seven university libraries in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda. A follow-up grant has been submitted to the Carnegie Foundation to continue working with these seven universities, and the grant will be reviewed this spring.

Recent Activities

In November, Barbara went to Tbilisi, Georgia, with Marianna Tax Choldin, Leigh Estabrook, Besiki Stvilia (a Ph.D. candidate at UIUC), and colleagues from Russia and Costa Rica as part of an International Advisory Committee on Library and Information Science Education and Development. The visit included meetings with a wide range of government and university officials and librarians. The committee report endorses the development of information studies in Georgia and supports the excellent work of the Regional Center of Continuing Professional Education for Librarians. Mortenson Associates have been very much involved in the excellent work that is being done in Georgia, and it was gratifying to see all they have accomplished.

In early December, Susan traveled to Haiti and participated in training workshops with Mortenson Associates who work with community libraries through the Open Society Institute and the Foundation Connaissance and Liberte. Elisabeth Pierre-Louis, a UIUC masters degree graduate, heads the community library program, and she and others who have been at the Mortenson Center are doing an excellent job of providing library services in 40 locations under challenging conditions.

Barbara was invited to Hanoi, Vietnam, in early December to be the keynote speaker at the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science Conference on the Role of Library Resources and Services in Higher Education in Vietnam. While in Vietnam, she was able to provide information about the Mortenson Center programs and meet with Vietnamese who have been at the Mortenson and others who have an interest in coming to UIUC.

Additional Information

For additional information about these and other activities in the Mortenson Center please contact Barbara Ford (bjford@uiuc.edu) or Susan Schnuer (schnuer@uiuc.edu).