2009 August Newsletter

19th Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture: Ellen Tise

Thursday, October 22, 4:00 pm

President of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) for 2009-2011

Title: Isolation and Information Famine Stifling Africa’s Growth

Thursday, October 22, 2009
4:00pm in the
Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Room 126
Reception following lecture.

Abstract: During the scramble for Africa at the end of the 19th century, European countries staked claims to virtually every part of the continent to tap into the vast natural resources in Africa. However, post independence from colonial powers has seen the stifling of growth of African countries. It is a generally held view that one of the pre-requisites for the alleviation of poverty and the stimulation of growth is equitable access to resources. And, one of the most fundamental of resources is knowledge. The literature supports this view as it reveals that knowledge and information are fundamental pillars for freedom, the exercising of political power, and economic, social and personal development.

It is the commonly held view that libraries will serve as the intermediary collecting, preserving and making provision of the equitable access to knowledge. African libraries therefore have an important role to play in breaking the isolation and information famine in Africa. They could for example broaden their traditional roles and assume such roles as publishers of information, especially indigenous knowledge which has played such a critical role in Africa. They could play a much more significant role in lifelong learning and cultural development. The public library could become the hub of their communities, providing free, accessible space, resources and services for everyone. Libraries have the opportunity to open channels for the free flow of knowledge and information for the growth and development of the continent.

Speaker Background:

Ellen Remona Tise, Senior Director of Library and Information Services at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, will be the 2009 Mortenson Distinguished Lecturer on October 22, 2009 at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Ms. Tise is the president of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) for 2009-2011.

Her professional experience includes serving as University Librarian at the University of the Western Cape from 2001 – 2005 and prior to that was Deputy University Librarian at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. She also previously held the position of Systems Librarian at the University of the Western Cape, as well as posts at Brakpan City Library and the University of the Free State.

She has served on the Governing Board and Executive Committee of IFLA, the IFLA Free Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) Advisory Board, and the IFLA Africa Section Standing Committee. Ms. Tise was Chairperson of the National Organizing Committee for the IFLA 73rd World Library and Information Congress, held in Durban, South Africa in August 2007.

Ms Tise’s experience at senior management levels in the profession includes being the first elected President of the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA) from 1998 – 2002; Director of SABINET Board from 2003 – 2007 and Online Board from 2003-; Deputy Chair of the South African Library Leadership Programme Governing Committee 2001-2004; Member of the Advisory and Management Committee of the LIASA-Carnegie Centre for Information Career Development Project from 2005-2006, OCLC Members Council Delegate from 2005 – 2008, and Member of the Access to Learning Award Advisory Committee for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation from 2007. She has also served on various selection/review panels such as the National Council for Library and Information Services and the Centre for the Book of the National Library of South Africa.

Ms. Tise is an Honorary Member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, as well as of the Library and Information Association of South Africa. She has published various articles in professional journals and is a regular speaker at national and international conferences, seminars, symposia, etc.

Fall Associates Program

The Mortenson Center plans to welcome 16 librarians for the Fall Mortenson Associates Program. The librarians are from Colombia, Georgia, Ghana, Japan, Nigeria, South Korea, South Africa, Trinidad, Uganda, and Vietnam. The program will be from September 14 to October 31. The Mortenson Associates will present a program at the Illinois Library Association conference in Peoria and will visit a number of libraries in Illinois.

South African Carnegie Project

Nine South African university librarians were at the Mortenson Center from February 20, to March 11, 2009. They were here as part of a grant from the Carnegie Corporation to their universities (University of Cape Town, University of KwaZulu-Natal, and University of the Witwatersrand) to develop new methods of library support for research in South Africa. The project has three phases: a web-based library research portal, a research commons in each library, and a human resource development component intended to equip selected librarians to provide high quality research support

The title of the program at the Mortenson Center was: “Setting the Context: A Program for Learning about Library Research Support in the United States”. Following their two weeks at the Mortenson Center the South African librarians each went to a research library in the U.S. to spend one month. These libraries are: Arizona State, Texas A&M, University of Washington, Yale University, North Carolina State University, Duke University, Purdue University, and University of Texas at Austin.

Thanks to Theresa Barnes, Merle Bowen, Paula Carns, Jim Hahn, Merinda Hensley, Valerie Hotchkiss, Lisa Hinchliffe, JoAnn Jacoby, Al Kagan, Paula Kaufman, Cindy Kelly, Rudy Leon, Emily Love, Katie Newman, Bekisizwe Ndimande, Sarah Shreeves, Mary Stuart, Scott Walter, Kathleen Weibel, and Beth Woodard as well as staff at Eastern Illinois, Northwestern, Loyola, and Purdue university libraries as well as the Association of College and Research Libraries for making excellent presentations.

Africa Project Updates

The Mortenson Center staff continues their work with university libraries in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. The project is to help the libraries with their automation projects. Great progress has been made at all sites. Barbara Ford visited Makerere University in April with Atoma Batoma who delivered a series of lectures about MARC 21. The talks were well received. Barbara Ford also visited Dar Es Salaam University Library with David Dorman in February to discuss the possible migration from their current system to a new system.

Barbara Ford with Lisa Hinchliffe and Beth Woodard spent a week at the University of Ghana in Legon in June. Lisa and Beth gave presentations on providing service in an automated environment to the library staff. The work done by Lisa and Beth set an excellent foundation for the librarians and the librarians thought that it was a great learning experience.

In February Susan Schnuer and a consultant visited the University of Winneba campuses in Winneba and Kumasi to talk about how to manage an automation project. The University has selected a library management system and is finalizing the contract.

Susan Schnuer visited six university libraries in Nigeria in April with library experts currently using the VTLS library management system. The University Libraries have all signed agreements with VTLS and have, at most sites, brought up the system and have loaded their records. This has been a big achievement. The Mortenson Center team will be back in November to provide follow-up training.

Institute of Museum and Library Services Grants

Work on the proposal developed with the Asian Library and the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA) entitled, “Think Globally, Act Globally: Developing Resources and Expertise through Communication, Collaboration, and Exchange between China and the United States” has begun. In May Susan joined the first group of CALA members who made presentations in China. From June 28-July 9 11 Chinese public librarians were at the Mortenson Center. Thanks to Bob Burger, Leigh Estabrook, Janice Pilch, and Fred Schlipf who made presentations to the group. A special thank you to the City of Champaign and the Urbana Free Library for organizing sessions for the group. Visits to Champaign Public, Urbana Free, Tolono Public, Arthur Public, Illinois State Library, Lincoln Presidential Library, and the Chicago Public Library also added to the program. Thanks to CALA leaders Haipeng Li and Xudong Jin who assisted with the program at the Mortenson Center. Interpreters from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science were of great assistance. Shuyong Jiang and Karen Wei worked with us on the entire program and developed the plans for the group at the American Library Association and during their library visits around the country.

Presentations and Outreach

IFLA/OCLC fellows from Armenia, Kenya, Pakistan, Serbia, Uganda, Zambia and the first OCLC Minority Librarian fellow were at the Mortenson Center May 5. Thanks to Melody Allison, Jennifer Emanuel, Roxanne Frey, Rudy Leon, Emily Love, Frederick Lugya, Rae Anne Montague, Miranda Remnek, Lisa Romero, Sara Thompson, Vicki Trimble who met with the group. George Needham and Nancy Lensenmayer from OCLC accompanied them.

Susan and Barbara both made presentations at ALA in Chicago. They will present a poster session at the IFLA conference in Milan in August and will both speak at a session during the conference as well.

Center Staffing

Sara Thompson is working at the Mortenson Center during the fall to assist with programming for the group that will be at the center. She is the former graduate assistant who recently received her degree. Jamie Luedtke will join us as a new graduate assistant.

Special Thanks

A special thank you to Coral Daube and Sara Thompson in the Mortneson Center and Kathie Veach and others in the Business Office for supporting the projects of the Mortenson Center. We could not do it without their assistance and the help of everyone in the library.

Additional Information

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