2007 January Newsletter

16th Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture

On October 16, 2006, Dr. Alex Byrne, president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), presented the 16th Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture, “ Can International Organizations Deliver the Information Society?” The lecture had a great turnout despite the rainy, windy weather, with many follow-up questions from the interested audience. This year, both Mortenson sons and their wives also were able to attend the lecture and festivities. The text and audio of the lecture are available on the Mortenson Center website .

We are in the process of planning next year’s lecture, and would welcome your suggestions for a renowned international speaker who could address a topic related to international understanding.

Fall Associates Program

The Mortenson Center welcomed 17 academic and public librarians from Chile, Colombia, Japan, Nigeria, Russia, South Korea, and Vietnam this fall for the annual Associates Program. Fourteen of the librarians were here for eight weeks (September 6-November 3), two spent an additional month at the Center, and another is pursuing his research interests on campus for a full year. Their schedule of seminars, tours, workshops, and conferences included trips to the ILA Conference in Chicago; to OCLC in Dublin, Ohio; and to the Illinois State Library in Springfield. Associates also spent several days at host libraries around the state, where they gained valuable knowledge about how other Illinois libraries serve their users. A big thank-you to the colleagues who helped make this year’s Associates Program a success: Mary Beth Allen, Susan Avery, Atoma Batoma, Bob Burger, Meg Burger, Alice Cisna, Cindy Clennon, Roxanne Frey, Nelly Gonzalez, Marsha Grove, Kristine Hammerstrand, Frances Harris, Cynthia Helms, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Jan Ison, Al Kagan, Nuala Koetter, Emily Love, Bryan McMurray, Cliff Missen, Janice Pilch, Miranda Remnek, Fred Schlipf, Karen Schmidt, Joe Sciacca, Wendy Shelburne, Sarah Shreeves, Dale Silver, Eric Sizemore, Becky Smith, Peggy Steele, Jennifer Hain Teper, Tom Teper, Anna Maria Watkin, Terry Weech, Karen Wei, Lynn Wiley, Sandy Wolf, and Beth Woodard. Thank you also to our colleagues who served as “Friends” to the Mortenson Associates during their visits: Susan Avery, Paula Mae Carns, Adriana Cuervo, Nelly Gonzalez, David Griffiths, Susan Harum, Al Kagan, Jo Kibbee, Emily Love, Lori Mestre, Setsuko Noguchi, Lynne Rudasill, Sarah Shreeves, Yoo-Seong Song, Peggy Steele, Karen Wei, and Joyce Wright.

Applications for the 2007 Fall Associates Program are due no later than May 1, 2007, and are available on the website.

Second “Thinking Outside the Borders” Leadership Institute

The second “Thinking Outside the Borders” library leadership institute took place November 7-10, 2006, at Allerton Park Conference Center. This year’s institute brought together 15 librarians from Canada, Mexico, and Latin America with 15 of their U.S. colleagues and 2 others from South Africa. The agenda included presentations and small-group work on leadership issues affecting all librarians, including cross-cultural communication. The group had a wonderful experience, enjoying the beautiful fall weather and Allerton Park grounds in between institute sessions and lively discussions. Thank you to our distinguished panel of presenters: Carol Brey-Casiano, El Paso Public Library; Tom Clareson, PALINET; Mary Ann Mavrinac, University of Toronto Mississauga; Sandra Rios Balderrama, RiosBalderrama Consulting; Ujala Satgoor, University of Pretoria (South Africa); Susan Schnuer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Tom Teper, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Harry Triandis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Thanks also to David Griffiths of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who attended the institute in the role of observer/interpreter.

The Mexican and Latin American librarians also visited 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 included 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. Thank you to our colleagues who helped with their weeklong program at the Urbana campus: Nancy John, Peter Kimble, Cliff Missen, Fred Schlipf, Wendy Shelburne, and Sarah Shreeves.

“Thinking Outside the Borders” goes on the road to Arizona in February 2007 and to Nebraska in October 2007, which will complete the three-year grant. While we won’t take the lead in planning either 2007 institute, we will work with our colleagues so they can develop content to best meet the needs of their particular states. As the grant ends, training “modules” will be developed and refined by our presenters so that libraries anywhere in the world can conduct similar leadership institutes on their own.

ILA Preconference

The Mortenson Center, in partnership with the Illinois State Library, put on a preconference at the Illinois Library Association conference held in Chicago in early October. Participants in the half-day session played “Pamoja,” which is a hands-on activity that brings to life the importance of libraries around the world and develops skills such as team building, policy development, negotiation, cultural sensitivity, and the value of information. The Mortenson Fall Associates participated in the preconference with Illinois librarians, highlighting the challenges associated with cross-cultural communication. The session was given as part of the “Thinking Outside the Borders” grant, the goal of which is to bring together American and international librarians to discuss library topics that have universal importance. Many thanks go out to Sharon Ruda and Bonnie Matheis of the Illinois State Library, who facilitated the session with Barbara Ford.

The materials to conduct a Pamoja session with your own group are available for free on the Mortenson Center website.

Africa Project Updates

Susan Schnuer returned to Ghana and Nigeria for five weeks this fall accompanied by Kathleen Weibel and David Dorman. During site visits to some of our Carnegie and MacArthur grant universities, they held workshops focused on development of project management skills for implementation of library management systems. Susan, Kathleen, and David also gave a one-day workshop on grant-writing for the Nigerian Library Association that drew over 70 people.

We are happy to report that seven of the Carnegie and MacArthur grant university libraries in Nigeria and Ghana have signed letters of intent to purchase and implement a major vendor’s library management system. If all goes well, the implementation process will begin in early 2007. Susan will return to west Africa early in the spring to conduct preparatory training with the libraries that sign contracts, and Barbara will return in late spring or early summer to oversee the beginning of the implementation process.

Vietnamese Group to Visit Mortenson Center

In January 2007, the Mortenson Center will welcome our second group of librarians from Vietnam. Last summer, the Mortenson Center hosted the first group for eight weeks during June and July. This next group of 15 will come to the Center for eight weeks from Boston, Massachusetts, where they attended classes at Simmons College during the fall 2006 semester. In addition to tours, seminars, and hands-on training, we plan to bring them to Seattle, Washington, for the ALA Midwinter Meeting. These librarians 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.

Memorandum of Agreement With University of Pretoria

The University of Illinois Library recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Pretoria Library in South Africa. University of Pretoria’s (UP) Library Director Robert Moropa visited the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and worked closely with our library’s administration to make the agreement happen, and Assistant Director for Client Service Hilda Kriel also visited in October. Under the agreement, librarians from both campuses are exploring opportunities for collaboration. The Mortenson Center is actively participating in this collaboration. Ujala Satgoor, head of the University of Pretoria’s Economics and Management Sciences Library, was a key speaker at the recent “Thinking Outside the Borders” leadership institute and also the “Borders” preconference held at ALA in New Orleans last June. Two of Ms. Satgoor’s UP library colleagues—Ina Smith and Thembi Hadebe—accompanied her to Illinois to participate in the leadership institute. Ms. Smith also gave a talk as part of the Library Colloquium Series.

Partnership With OCLC

The Mortenson Center has established a strong partnership with OCLC. Working with OCLC’s Vice President for Member Services George Needham and Program Officer for Education and Professional Development Nancy Lensenmayer, the Center has set up a working relationship that benefits both institutions. OCLC hosts the Mortenson Associates and other visiting groups throughout the year and introduces them to OCLC services. In return, the Mortenson Center hosts the IFLA-OCLC Fellows every May.

International Groups From Iraq and China

In early December, Susan Schnuer took a group of six Iraqi librarians and their U.S. State Department escorts and interpreters on a tour of Illinois’s Undergraduate Library. The six librarians come from academic institutions throughout Iraq, including Mosul University, Baghdad University, Salahaddin University (Erbil), and al-Mustansiriya University (Baghdad). We would like to extend special thanks to Jeff Schrader, Brett Byrd, and Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe for making this tour possible.

The Iraqi visit was followed a few days later by a delegation of four Chinese administrators from Dalian University of Technology. These administrators explored the possibility of establishing partnerships with the Urbana campus’s international program and GSLIS, in addition to the Mortenson Center. Susan Schnuer helped to arrange meetings for the group on campus.

Other International Visitors

During the 2006 fall semester, Mortenson Center staff met with many international visitors and dignitaries to the Urbana campus, GSLIS, and the library. International Programs and Studies hosted a number of consuls general from Chicago and invited the Mortenson Center to attend some of these meetings, including South Africa, Mexico, China, Uruguay, and the ambassador from Senegal. As a result, the South African consulate in Chicago invited Barbara Ford to moderate a presentation by an author from that country in November. Center staff also met briefly with visiting library school faculty members from Australia and Thailand, and along with the 2006 Fall Associates met a delegation of Russian librarians at the Illinois Library Association conference 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.