2005 April Newsletter

Mortenson 15th Annual Distinguished Lecture

The 15th Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture will be held Wednesday, October 26, at 4:00 in room 126 of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. A reception will follow. Jorge Orlando Melo Gonzalez who is Director of the Department of Libraries and Fine Art at the Banco de la Republica and of the Luis Angel Arango Library in Bogota, Colombia, will be the speaker.

Mr. Melo is one of Colombia s most distinguished public intellectuals, a librarian, and an accomplished historian. The public library which he directs in Bogota has 3 million readers each year. The lecture, Democracy and Libraries in Colombia: From Oral Culture to the World of the Book, presents an outline of the history of written culture in Colombia as a framework for discussion of the role of libraries in the consolidation of a democracy in societies in development. Watch the Mortenson Center web site www.library.uiuc.edu/mortenson for more information.

Thinking Outside the Borders: Library Leadership in a World Community

Applications from librarians for the 2005 Thinking Outside the Borders Leadership Retreat are being accepted through May 15, 2005. The retreat will be held Sept. 26-29, 2005, at Eagle Creek Conference Center at Lake Shelbyville. An IMLS National Leadership Grant (NLG) will cover all expenses except travel. The NLG project was developed by the Illinois State Library (ISL) and the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library. The purpose of the project is to encourage librarians to “think globally and act locally.” Common issues of concern to librarians everywhere that will be covered at the leadership retreats include preservation, technology, negotiation, empowerment, fundraising and advocacy. The application form may be found at http://findit.sos.state.il.us/borders/index.htm. Applicants must submit their complete applications by May 15, 2005, to Bonnie Matheis, ISL, Gwendolyn Brooks Building, 300 South Second, Springfield, Illinois 62701-1796. Questions can be directed to Bonnie by telephone at 217-558-2065 or by e-mail at bmatheis@ilsos.net. Successful applicants will be notified of their selection by June 15, 2005.

Carnegie Grant for Strategic Planning and Automation of African University Libraries

The Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library has received a three year grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The goal of the project is to assist university librarians from seven Carnegie grantee institutions in East and West Africa to move into a fully automated on-line catalog environment and a computer-based library management system that will better serve the research and learning needs of their users.

Seven universities and their libraries in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda have received grants as part of Carnegie s focus on The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa. In this project, the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs will work with the University of Ghana Legon and University of Education Winneba in Ghana; Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Jos, and Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria; Makerere University in Uganda; and the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

A team from the Mortenson Center will visit each year to provide assistance in planning and implementing an automated system. Our first visit will probably be in May 2005. Training and technical support systems and communication systems will be set up to provide assistance and for reporting on progress. We will provide training at the Mortenson Center for selected staff to develop local expertise in library automation and develop strategies for sustainability. This grant builds on an earlier grant when Mortenson Center staff prepared a study of these institutions for the Carnegie Corporation. You can read the report from the previous grant at the Mortenson Center web site (www.library.uiuc.edu/mortenson).

MacArthur Grant for Needs Assessment of Nigerian African University Libraries

The Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign received a grant from the MacArthur Foundation as part of MacArthur s initiative to strengthen key universities in Nigeria, of which improving libraries as a resource for the University is a critical element. In consultation with library staff, our role was to review library priorities and strategies for providing access to research materials for library users. In February, Mortenson Center staff and a library consultant visited the four MacArthur grantees the University of Ibadan, Ahmadu Bello University, Bayero University, and the University of Port Harcourt. We are now writing a report to the MacArthur Foundation which will detail what we learned about priorities for the university libraries and the necessary resources and professional development programs needed to implement these priorities. If the Foundation is interested, we may follow up with another proposal to continue working with these libraries.

Mellon Foundation and the South Africa Library Leadership Program

In 2001, the Mortenson Center submitted a proposal, after extensive consultation with our South African colleagues, to the Mellon Foundation for a three year project entitled the South African Library Leadership Project (SALLP). The project had two main goals: to implement a leadership program for library managers in academic and public libraries and to plan for a continuing education entity in the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA). The grant was awarded later that year.

In 2002, the first group of South African librarians attended training at the Mortenson Center. As part of the project, SALLP participants have attended ILA conferences and made presentations for conference participants. Attending these conferences and other programs, such as Reaching Forward, allows the SALLP participants to observe first hand the operations of another library association. ILA leaders, staff, and members have been very supportive of this and have welcomed the international participants. Through a partnership with the Illinois State Library, SALLP participants have been hosted by libraries around the state for several days following an orientation at the Illinois State Library. This has provided an opportunity for Illinois librarians to learn more about libraries in South Africa and for South African librarians to experience first hand activities in a variety of Illinois libraries.

By 2004, 23 South African librarians had participated in SALLP and had returned home to contribute to their home libraries and to their professional association, LIASA. In the last LIASA election, four SALLP graduates were elected as executive officers of LIASA; five graduates now hold executive positions in the regional branches of LIASA; and four are officers or members of LIASA interest groups. Many have also received promotions in their libraries. The project has been deemed a success by the most important shareholders, the South African library community.

The project has just ended, but the partnership between the Mortenson Center and LIASA continues. LIASA recently received a multi-year grant from the Carnegie Foundation to establish a continuing education center within the association, and the Mortenson Center will participate in some of the planned activities. The SALLP project has helped raise the visibility of LIASA, both nationally and internationally. The Association continues to grow and develop.

In addition to South Africa, the project has had a major impact on librarians in Illinois who have had the opportunity to interact with and get to know their colleagues from South Africa through presentations they made at the Illinois Library Association and host visits around the state, arranged by the Illinois State Library. There is a growing awareness in the state of the common issues and challenges that librarians face around the world. At the Mortenson Center, we feel privileged to have worked with LIASA and been part of the growth of the association as it takes a leadership role in South Africa. We look forward to continuing collaboration.

Outreach Activities

  • January 12, Association for Library and Information Science Education Annual Conference, Community Connections: Advancing LIS Education and Practice Through Partnership, Barbara Ford spoke on a panel.
  • January 15, Public Library Association Leadership Development Program, Barbara spoke on What Will You Be Doing Next Year.
  • February 10, GSLIS Global Perspectives class, Barbara and Susan Schnuer spoke on the Mortenson Center.
  • February 15, ARL Research Library Leadership Fellows Program Institute, Library s International Strategy, Barbara spoke on a panel.
  • February 16-March 5, Mortenson Center team visited university libraries in Nigeria with MacArthur grant
  • March 29, Mortenson Center Advisory Committee Meeting
  • April 1, GSLIS ALA Chapter, ALA International Relations Round Table, Susan.
  • April 15, Illinois Library Association Reaching Forward Conference, The World Comes to Illinois, Barbara and Susan.
  • April 21-22, Lincoln Trail Libraries System, Diversity Forum, Barbara and Susan invited to attend and help with group discussions.
  • April 28, Michael Ragen, Acting Director/Chief Deputy Director, Illinois State Library, visits Mortenson Center
  • May 4, Chicago Public Library, All Staff Institute Day, The World Comes to Illinois, Barbara and Susan and IFLA/OCLC Fellows
  • May 5, IFLA/OCLC Fellows at the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs
  • May 6-31, Mortenson Center team visits university libraries in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda with Carnegie grant

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).