2007 April Newsletter

Vietnamese Group Visits Mortenson Center

The Mortenson Center welcomed our second group of librarians from Vietnam for eight weeks beginning January 15 and ending March 9. Last summer, the Mortenson Center hosted the first group for eight weeks during June and July. This group of 15 librarians came to the Center from Boston, Massachusetts, where they attended classes at Simmons College during the fall 2006 semester. In addition to local tours, seminars, and hands-on training, we brought them to Seattle, Washington, for the ALA Midwinter Meeting; to Springfield for a weeklong digitization institute at the Illinois State Library; and to Chicago to visit the American Library Association and the Chicago Public Library. 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.

We would like to extend our thanks to the colleagues who contributed to the success of their program by presenting and/or by allowing the librarians to “job-shadow” them: Mary Beth Allen, John Andrick, Susan Avery, Atoma Batoma, Greta Bever, Meg Burger, Rajwant Chilana, Leah Dodd, Roxanne Frey, Nelly Gonzalez, Jennifer Hain Teper, Kristine Hammerstrand, Frances Harris, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Gail Hueting, Jan Ison, JoAnn Jacoby, Shuyong Jiang, Jo Kibbee, Peter Kimble, Emily Love, Bryan McMurray, Rae-Anne Montague, Kerry Parmelee, Lynne Rudasill, Fred Schlipf, Karen Schmidt, Richard Schnuer, Joe Sciacca, Sarah Shreeves, Eric Sizemore, Becky Smith, Caroline Szylowicz, Tom Teper, Kristin Vogel, Anna Maria Watkin, Karen Wei, Kathleen Weibel, Lynn Wiley, Sandy Wolf, Beth Woodard, and Joyce Wright.

Africa Project Updates

Susan Schnuer returned to Ghana and Nigeria for a few weeks in February to assist Carnegie and MacArthur grant university libraries with workshops focused on development of MARC-21 skills. These workshops aimed to prepare the universities’ cataloging staffs for the libraries’ upcoming implementation of a library management system (LMS). Barbara Ford then traveled to Nigeria a few weeks later to oversee training on the VTLS Virtua integrated library system, which has been chosen and purchased by six of the Nigerian universities.

“Thinking Outside the Borders” Leadership Institute

Barbara Ford and Susan Schnuer attended the first of two “Thinking Outside the Borders” leadership institutes to be held in other states during 2007. The Arizona State Library organized and hosted a two-day institute in February, held in Phoenix . Plans are underway for the other 2007 “Borders” institute, scheduled for October in Nebraska to coincide with the Nebraska Library Association’s annual conference. We plan to travel to Nebraska with the Mortenson Associates so that another group of our visiting scholars can participate in this dynamic leadership program.


Mortenson Center staff spoke to several organizations during the month of March. While in Nigeria for the Carnegie and MacArthur LMS training, Barbara presented two sessions at the West African Library Association. This conference was organized by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’s (IFLA) Action for Development Through Libraries Programme. Her topics included library advocacy and forging collaborative partnerships and regional networks. Library leaders from six West African countries attended the conference. Susan Schnuer and Kathleen Weibel spoke to the Champaign Rotary Club about the Mortenson Center’s ongoing Carnegie and MacArthur projects in Nigeria. Then late in the month Barbara Ford traveled to Simmons College in Boston, where she spoke at the college’s Alumni & Professional Development Day as the representative of the Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science. She spoke about the major theme of her ALA presidency—Libraries: Global Reach, Local Touch. In April, Barbara will travel to the Hague, Netherlands, where she will speak to the Netherlands Library Forum on international marketing campaigns for libraries. Also in April, Susan will participate in a panel discussion about Haiti sponsored by the University of Illinois student organization “Invisible Conflicts.” Barbara and Susan also will speak to faculty and students at the U of I’s Center for African Studies about the Center’s projects in East and West Africa.

International Visitors

During March, Susan Schnuer met with the Chilean ambassador to the United States during his visit to the University of Illinois. They discussed Mortenson Center programs and visited special exhibits of rare Chilean materials set up by Nelly Gonzalez and Alvan Bregman, which delighted the ambassador. Also during March, the Mortenson Center hosted Ms. Hilda Kriel, assistant director of client service at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, for a week. The rest of the spring will be busy as well. Susan will meet with the ambassador from Brazil during April when he visits campus. Then, we look forward to receiving an international group of OCLC Fellows again in May, and a group of librarians from all over the world in June who will be participating in a U.S. State Department program.

Additional Information

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