2006 April Newsletter

Site Visits to Africa for Carnegie and MacArthur Grants

Two teams of librarians from the Mortenson Center recently returned from several weeks in Africa that was supported by the Center’s Carnegie and MacArthur grants for automation of African university libraries. Mortenson Center Director Barbara Ford led a team that visited universities in Ghana (University of Education-Winneba and University of Ghana-Legon) and the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Her team included Peggy Steele, coordinator for integrated library systems at UIUC, and Jo Kibbee, head of Reference at UIUC. Mortenson Center Associate Director Susan Schnuer led a team that also visited the Ghanian universities, and then a number of universities in Nigeria (Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Bayero University, Kano; University of Ibadan, Ibadan; University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; and University of Jos, Jos). Her team included Kathleen Kern, digital reference coordinator at UIUC; John Hostage, authorities librarian at Harvard University Law Library; and independent technology consultant David Dorman. During the visits, the teams provided training to library staff and assessed each library’s current automation situation and future needs. Representatives from each of these universities currently are at the Mortenson Center for eight weeks of technology training (see related item below).

Technology Training at the Mortenson Center

From late March to late May 2006, the Mortenson Center is hosting 16 librarians from the African universities supported by the Center’s Carnegie and MacArthur grants and just visited by the Center’s teams. These librarians-mainly IT professionals and catalogers-will receive in-depth training on a variety of library-related technologies and learn first-hand how fully automated libraries function, adapt, and plan for the future. The goal of the grant projects is to assist university librarians from 10 institutions in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, and Tanzania to move into an automated library environment that will better serve the research and learning needs of their users.

Barb Allen, Atoma Batoma, Bob Burger, Randy Cetin, Chew Chiat Naun, Cindy Clennon, Tim Cole, Jessica Gibson, Chris Hamb, Kristine Hammerstrand, Mona Heath, Al Kagan, Paula Kaufman, Kathleen Kern, Jo Kibbee, Nuala Koetter, Mary Laskowski, Amy Maroso, Lori Mestre, Bill Mischo, Michael Norman, Chris Prom, Lynne Rudasill, Beth Sandore, Karen Schmidt, Wendy Shelburne, Sarah Shreeves, Peter Siegel, Eric Sizemore, Mike Smeltzer, Peggy Steele, David Ward, Kathleen Weibel, Cherié Weible, John Weible, Sandy Wolf, Martin Wolske, and Stan Yagi will share their expertise with our visitors on a variety of technology-related issues through presentations and educational sessions. The visiting scholars also will be making a number of trips, including OCLC in Dublin, Ohio; University of Illinois-Chicago; the Illinois State Library and University of Illinois-Springfield; Parkland College; Chicago Public Library’s All-Staff Institute Day; the Center for Research Libraries; the American Library Association; and the First Monday Conference in Chicago. In May, the librarians will go on site visits to universities throughout Illinois, which will give them the opportunity to see the library management systems and processes in place at institutions other than UIUC. The libraries and staff at Eastern Illinois University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Illinois State University, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, Roosevelt University, Southern Illinois University, University of Illinois-Chicago, and Western Illinois University each will host two of our visiting scholars for this important learning experience. In addition, local government officials from the City of Champaign will present a full-day training workshop on managing effective meetings for the visiting librarians and City of Champaign employees.

Vietnamese Group to Visit Mortenson Center

For eight weeks during June and July, the Mortenson Center will host a group of 11 librarians and two library directors from Vietnam. They will arrive at the Center after attending classes at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. They are part of a program funded by grants from Atlantic Philanthropies that provides master-level training for Vietnamese librarians. In addition to presentations and sessions here at UIUC, Mortenson Center staff will escort these visitors on tours of local libraries and to the annual American Library Association conference to be held in New Orleans in June.

ALA Preconference

Speaking of ALA , the Mortenson Center will be leading a preconference presented by the ALA International Relations Round Table titled “Thinking Outside the Borders.” This preconference is funded by the Center’s three-year IMLS grant and is part of a three-year series of programs geared for middle-level to senior-level library managers from the U.S. and from countries around the world. The participants will be encouraged to think globally and act locally. This session will explore strategies used in South Africa and in the U.S. for making our libraries, services, and workplaces more effective in a multicultural and global environment. Participants also will learn about ALA’s Sister Libraries program. The speakers at the preconference are Ujala Satgoor, head of the Business Library at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and Sandra Rios Balderrama, director of RiosBalderrama Consulting.

16th Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture

Get out your calendars and set the date! The 16th Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture, “Can International Organizations Deliver the Information Society?,” will be presented on October 16, 2006, at 4:00 p.m. in Room 126 of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science by Dr. Alex Byrne, president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). IFLA is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users and is the global voice of the library and information science profession. IFLA has 1,700 members in 150 countries around the world.

Dr. Byrne is pro vice chancellor for teaching and learning and vice president for alumni and development at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. Dr. Byrne’s publications are primarily in information management, community empowerment, and human rights, with particular regard to freedom of expression and access to information. We look forward to seeing you at the lecture and the reception that will follow immediately after.

Second “Thinking Outside the Borders” Leadership Institute

The second “Thinking Outside the Borders” library leadership institute will take place November 7-10, 2006, at Allerton Park Conference Center. This year’s institute will bring together librarians from Canada, Mexico, and Latin America with their U.S. colleagues. The Mexican and Latin American librarians also will visit the Mortenson Center and the Illinois State Library for two weeks of technology training prior to the retreat at Allerton Park.


The award of a $303,000 MacArthur grant in early January 2006 garnered some terrific publicity for the Center, including a UIUC News Bureau story; an article in the Daily Illini; an interview with Director Barbara Ford on WPGU, 107.1 FM; and an interview with Associate Director Susan Schnuer on WILL-AM, AM 580. Champaign-Urbana’s newspaper, The News-Gazette, also published a story in early April on the African librarians at the beginning of the Center’s spring technology training program. The News-Gazette plans to do a follow-up article at the end of the program in late May as well. We are very pleased to have more people in the campus and local community become aware of the Center’s work. In addition, a local Nigerian television station filmed Susan Schnuer’s team being introduced at Bayero University’s commencement ceremony in Kano, and the University of Port Harcourt recently had a story about the Mortenson Center on the homepage of their website.

Ford Lectures in Kosovo

The National and University Library, in co-sponsorship with the U.S. Office in Pristina, hosted “library week in Kosovo” for its fourth year on April 2-8, 2006. Barbara Ford was sponsored by the U.S. State Department to give lectures and to participate in round table discussions. During the week she spoke and led discussions on library associations, managing change, and university libraries. Simultaneous interpretations in Albanian and Serbian allowed for interchange of ideas with the over 100 librarians, representatives of governmental bodies, and international institutions who attended the programs.

Schnuer Appointed to Advisory Board

The Open Society Institute nongovernmental organization “FOKAL” of Haiti has asked Susan Schnuer to be a member of their newly formed advisory board. Susan will be attending the first meeting on April 24, 2006, in New York.

Cassady Attends Synergy 2006

Dawn Cassady, the Mortenson Center’s training and technical assistance coordinator, is one of 30 Illinois librarians selected to participate in Synergy: The Illinois Library Leadership Initiative 2006, a yearlong program designed to develop future leaders in the library professions and in the Illinois community. The group of 30 librarians will attend three sessions and work in a unique environment with other developing leaders, experienced Illinois library leaders, and nationally recognized speakers. The goal of the program is for each individual to develop leadership skills that can be applied in local, state, and global arenas. The Illinois State Library and the Illinois Library Association sponsor the seminars. Dawn attended the first Synergy seminar March 28-30 at Starved Rock Lodge and Conference Center in Utica. The other seminars will be held August 1-3 at Pere Marquette Lodge in Grafton; and November 1-3 at Hickory Ridge Marriott Conference Hotel in Lisle.

Additional Information

Please contact Barbara J. Ford (bjford@uiuc.edu) or Susan Schnuer (schnuer@uiuc.edu) for more information.