2006 August Newsletter

16th Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture

October will be here before we know it! Please mark your calendars for the 16th Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture, “Can International Organizations Deliver the Information Society?,” which will be held on October 16, 2006, at 4:00 p.m. in Room 126 of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Dr. Alex Byrne, president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), will be our lecturer this year. 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.

Fall Associates Program

The Mortenson Center expects to welcome 17 academic and public librarians from Chile, Colombia, Japan, Nigeria, Russia, South Korea, and Vietnam this fall for the annual Associates Program. Fifteen of the librarians will be here for eight weeks (September 6-November 3), while one will spend an additional month at the Center, and another will pursue his research interests on campus for a full year. Their schedule of seminars, tours, workshops, and conferences will include trips to the ILA Conference in Chicago, OCLC in Dublin, Ohio, and to the Illinois State Library in Springfield. Associates also will continue the tradition of spending several days at host libraries around the state, where they will see how other Illinois libraries serve their users and solve challenges and will have the opportunity to develop a network of new colleagues.

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 15 librarians from Canada, Mexico, and Latin America with 15 of their U.S. colleagues. The agenda will include presentations and small-group work on leadership issues affecting all librarians, including cross-cultural communication. 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 technology training program will include a trip to Dublin, Ohio, to visit OCLC, OhioLINK (a consortium of Ohio ‘s college and university libraries and the State Library of Ohio), and the technologically innovative Westerville Public Library. Plans are already underway to bring “Thinking Outside the Borders” to Arizona and Nebraska in 2007, which will complete the three-year grant.

Africca Project Updates

Barbara Ford attended the SCECSAL (Standing Conference of Eastern, Central and Southern African Library and Information Associations) Conference held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in July. This conference focused on knowledge management and the African Renaissance; creating a civil society; social, economic, and cultural development; and the information professional. After the conference, Barbara and UIUC colleague Sarah Shreeves traveled to Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, where they did a workshop on digitization and institutional repositories. Susan Schnuer will return to Ghana and Nigeria this fall for additional site visits to some of our Carnegie and MacArthur grant universities. Planned workshops will focus on development of project management skills for implementation of library management systems. With negotiations for a library management system well underway with a major vendor, hopes are high that some of the African university libraries will be able to begin the implementation process soon and become fully automated.

Vietnamese Group Visits Mortenson Center

At the end of July Mortenson Center staff bid a fond farewell to 10 librarians and two library directors from Vietnam. The Mortenson Center hosted this group for eight weeks during June and July. They came to the Center from Boston, Massachusetts, where they attended classes at Simmons College during the spring 2006 semester. They are part of a program funded by grants from Atlantic Philanthropies that provides master-level training for Vietnamese librarians. The Mortenson Center portion of their training has been included to give them practical experiences outside of the classroom. In addition to presentations and sessions here at UIUC, Mortenson Center staff escorted this well-traveled group to Chicago, Springfield, Bloomington, local libraries, and to the annual American Library Association conference in New Orleans in June. Many thanks to our colleagues who presented to the group: Paul Adams, Mary Beth Allen, Christine Beuoy, Bob Burger, Roxanne Frey, Marsha Grove, Chris Hamb, Kristine Hammerstrand, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Jan Ison, Shuyong Jiang, Kathleen Kern, Nuala Koetter, Betsy Kruger, Amy Maroso, Bryan McMurray, Lori Mestre, Linda Morrissett, Annie Paprocki, Michael Peters, Gene Rinkel, Margo Robinson, Fred Schlipf, Joe Sciacca, Sue Searing, Dale Silver, James Simon, Eric Sizemore, Jennifer Hain Teper, Tom Teper, Anna Maria Watkin, Karen Wei, Kathleen Weibel, Lynn Wiley, and Joyce Wright. A special thanks also goes out to our colleagues who allowed one or two librarians to “job shadow” them for a morning or afternoon: Rajwant Chilana, David Griffiths, Susan Harum, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Lynne Rudasill, Becky Smith, Marek Sroka, and Caroline Szylowicz. This part of the program was requested specially by the Vietnamese librarians, and they reported having great experiences. We look forward to welcoming the next cohort of Vietnamese librarians for eight weeks starting in January 2007.

For the first time, we have a guest contributor to the Mortenson Center newsletter. Becky Smith, head of the Business & Economics Library (BEL), offered these reflections on the job shadowing experience. Thanks, Becky!

Imagine-Vietnamese Librarians Shadowing Me
By Becky Smith, Head of BEL

Early this summer, Mortenson Center put a call out for librarians to have some summer fellows from Vietnam shadow us on the job. I thought this would kind of cool, as I had not met any Vietnamese librarians before, and it would be a good opportunity to exchange ideas.

The librarians who shadowed me were both from the Learning Resource Center at Thai Nguyen University in Thai Nguyen City, Vietnam. Mr. Nguyen Duy Hoan is the Library Director, and Ms. Ha To Tam is an Information Resources Librarian (their terminology for Technical Services). The three of us met for lunch. I asked them how they got to work. One of them had a car; the other used a scooter. I thought that was interesting.

I confess I was concerned that I could not keep them interested for three hours beyond lunch, as I am not a typical unit head. My job is more immersed in marketing, collection development-especially database negotiation-and strategic planning, and I don’t work at the Reference Desk in BEL. But as it turned out, those were the very things they were interested in. They found my database list and prices that we paid fascinating, and asked me questions about non-English business databases. I did say it would be a challenge for them to locate them in Vietnamese, but gave them some leads. They also saw a demonstration of the Bloomberg database along with some international students who are getting a master’s in finance.

The part of the visit that appeared to interest them the most was talking to faculty member Yoo-Seong Song about his research with perceptions of Asian students. They walked away with a copy of his paper, as it would be useful to them in the planning of their new library.

The afternoon flew by. It was good to meet them, and I hope someday I can go to their new library in Vietnam and learn about their practices.

Belarusian Group Visits the Mortenson Center

A group of six Belarusian public librarians, their interpreters, and their hosts from Paris, Illinois, paid a one-day visit to the Mortenson Center in mid-June. In addition to a workshop for Slavic librarians held at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science and a brief trip to a local public library, they also had sessions taught by Helen Sullivan and Frances Harris and attended an evening reception held at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. This group also participated in the Mortenson Center’s ALA Preconference in New Orleans a few weeks after their visit to UIUC.

ALA Preconference

The Mortenson Center led a preconference presented by the ALA International Relations Round Table (IRRT) titled “Thinking Outside the Borders.” Funded by the Center’s three-year IMLS grant, the preconference 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 are encouraged to think globally and act locally. This session explored 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 learned about ALA’s Sister Libraries program. The speakers at the preconference were Ujala Satgoor, head of the Business Library at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and Sandra Rios Balderrama, director of RiosBalderrama Consulting. The session was phenomenally successful, with registration numbers going well beyond expectations (and capacity!) and excellent evaluations. In fact, the success of this preconference has prompted a change in IRRT procedure: From now on, all IRRT preconferences will invite both international librarians and their American counterparts. Previously, IRRT preconferences were offered only to international librarians. A “Thinking Outside the Borders” preconference is also planned for the ILA Conference in October in Chicago.

Additional Information

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