2010 August Newsletter

Mortenson Associates Program

Watch for the new redesigned Mortenson Center program in 2011!  We have shortened and repositioned our signature Fall program to better meet the professional development needs of our colleagues around the world.  We will not hold a Mortenson Associates program in 2010 and have used this year to plan the new program, which will debut in May 2011.  The new program entitled Librarians of Tomorrow will be a three week program and will end right before the ALA annual conference so that participants have the opportunity to attend the conference if they wish.  The program will focus on a different topic every year.  In 2011 the focus will be on communication and leadership.   Details about the program are available on the Mortenson Center website https://www.library.illinois.edu/mortenson/associates/.


20th Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture

The 2010 lecture will be held on Wednesday, October 20 at 4:00 pm in GSLIS 126.  Dr. Shalini R. Urs, Executive Director and Professor, International School of Information Management at the University of Mysore, India, will be the speaker.  Her lecture will be “Shifting Terrains, Crossing Boundaries: Digital Libraries are Personal and Social Again!”

Professor Shalini Urs is an information scientist having interest in all matters of the mind – from creativity to cognitive to cultural. Taking a 360 degree view of information, she has researched on issues ranging from the theoretical foundations of information science to technological aspects of digital libraries. Her areas of research, apart from digital libraries include: Relevance and Information Retrieval, Content Management Systems, Ontology, and Social Network Analysis.

Shalini has been a faculty member in the Department of Library and Information Science of the University of Mysore for the last 35 years, and was a Fulbright scholar and visiting professor at Virginia Tech, USA during 2000- 2001. Her major accomplishments include-the Vidyanidhi Digital Library project ( www.vidyanidhi.org.in ), an internationally known Indian digital library. Having led the Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) movement in India, she is the recipient of NDLTD-Adobe Leadership award in 2004. She is on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Tech-based global initiative NDLTD (Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations). She served on the Governing Board of INFLIBNET – the Inter University Centre of University Grants Commission from 2001 to 2004. She has served as an UNESCO expert on several occasions.

She put India on the global digital library map by bringing the well known international digital library conference series “International Conference on Asian Digital Libraries (ICADL)” to India and organizing ICADL 2001 in December 2001 in Bangalore. She is currently the Chair of the Asian Digital Library Steering Committee. Widely traveled, invited to speak at various international and national conferences, Shalini has won many awards including the recent Emerald Research Fund Award in Indian Library and Information Science category for 2007-8.

Having conceptualized the International School of Information Management (ISiM), Shalini founded ISiM – the first and only iSchool in India at the University of Mysore with seed funding from the Ford Foundation and Informatics India in collaboration with leading Information Schools in the US (www.isim.ac.in).  As executive director and professor of ISiM in Mysore she is striving towards making ISiM a world class institution. She has led the formation of the Consortium of iSchools of Asia-Pacific (CiSAP) and is currently the Vice Chair.


Carnegie and MacArthur Africa Grants

In June and July, 20 librarians from the grantee institutions in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda spent four weeks at the Mortenson Center and attended the American Library Association conference in Washington, D.C.  They also participated in a digitization workshop at the Illinois State Library, visited Eastern Illinois University library, Parkland College library, College of DuPage Library, and Naperville Public Library.  A special thank you for librarians who met with and made presentations for the group: Atoma Batoma, Jane Block, David Dorman, Meg Edwards, Jan Ison, Paula Kaufman, Allen Lanham, Rudy Leon, Alyce Scott, Wendy Shelburne, Kevin Trainor, Kristin Vogel, Anna Maria Watkin, and Lynn Wiley.  Coral Daube, Jamie Luedtke, and Sara Thompson of the Mortenson Center staff were essential to the success of the program. This will be the final U.S. visit for university librarians from Africa sponsored by Carnegie and MacArthur.


IMLS China Grant

The Center continues to work with Shuyong Jiang and Karen Wei on the collaborative grant with the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA) funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. Two groups of Chinese public librarians were here in June 2010, then visited another library in the U.S., and attended the American Library Association conference in Washington, D.C. The program for one group focused on continuing education and the program for the other group focused on technology.  In July, Shuyong Jiang traveled to China with another group to present educational sessions.  The principal investigators are continuing to work on the web portal of Chinese materials for U.S. users.


Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Contract

The Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support a training program for public librarians in other countries.

Global Libraries, an initiative of the foundation’s Global Development Program, is working to transform public libraries into vital resources that can help improve the lives of millions of people. The initiative works with select countries that demonstrate a need and a readiness to help public libraries provide free access to computers and the Internet, and training on how to make full use of these tools.

Two of the foundation’s Global Libraries country programs – Latvia and Romania – have been selected to participate in the Mortenson Center program. The Mortenson Center program will expose potential public library leaders and innovators from these countries to different models of successful public libraries.  The goal is to provide these individuals with the opportunity to study the policies, services, and funding sources that are necessary to fully support a library system, which is both responsive to the needs of a community and proactive in addressing the information needs of users.

The training will consist of a training program in the United States.  It will focus on a changing library environment due in part to the influx of new electronic tools and services.



Sara Thompson has left the Mortenson Center to begin work as a librarian in Iowa.

Katherine Eriksen is working part time with the Mortenson Center during the fall.

Jamie Luedtke is again working with the Center as the graduate assistant.


Expected 2010-2011 Mortenson Center Visitors

Latvian public librarians (15 expected) September 10-October 8, 2010

South African University librarians (9 expected) February 11-March 4, 2011

Romanian public librarians (13 expected) March 18-April 16, 2011

Mortenson Associates Program (16 expected) May 30-June 22, 2011

IFLA/OCLC Fellows from Botswana, Nepal, Philippines, Malawi, China, Serbia – Spring 2011


Additional Information

Contact Barbara Ford ( bjford@illinois.edu ) or Susan Schnuer ( schnuer@illinois.edu ) for additional information.