2011 April Newsletter

Mortenson Associates Program

“Librarians of Tomorrow: Communication and Leadership” is the 2011 Associates Program. The program will be held May 30 to June 22 and will include seminars and workshops, tours of libraries, small group discussions, and networking with international colleagues. We expect participants from Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Ghana, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, South Korea, and Uganda. The program is scheduled to allow participants to attend the annual meeting of the American Library Association, if they wish.


Mortenson Distinguished Lecture

The 2011 lecture was held in April and featured a very well received presentation, The “Invisible” Forces of Haiti — How Can Books and Cultural Help the Reconstruction Process, by Elizabeth Pierre-Louis, Director of the Library Program, Fondation Connaissance et Liberte (FOKAL), Open Society Institute Haiti. You can read the lecture and hear a recording on the website here.

We also celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Mortenson Center at the reception following the lecture. Members of the Mortenson family including Ray Mortenson, Jean Wardle, and Kip Mortenson, and Marianna Tax Choldin, first Mortenson Distinguished Professor and Director of the Mortenson Center, were at the lecture and reception for the celebration.


Carnegie and MacArthur Africa Grants

Work continues on the grants to work with automation for 10 university libraries in sub-Saharan Africa. Susan visited Ghana and Nigeria in January and reports that the universities are making substantial program on their automation efforts. Librarians from Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda will participate in the Associates program in June. Barbara will travel with Merinda Hensley and Sarah Shreeves to the University of Ghana Legon in July to deliver a training session. Atoma Batoma will go to the University of Dar es Salaam in September to provide a training session. Susan will travel again to Nigeria in October to continue working with librarians there. These grants for work with universities in Africa will end in 2012.

In February and March, nine librarians from research universities in South Africa were at the Mortenson Center supported by a Carnegie grant to improve research support. The grant covers the establishment of research commons, research portals and staff development. The staff development includes a two-week residential academy in South Africa and a two-month study trip to the U.S. for mid-career experienced librarians. The U.S. program includes a two-week training program at the Mortenson Center, attendance at the ACRL Conference, and a six-week internship at an ARL library. Special thanks to Paula Carns, Merinda Hensley, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, JoAnn Jacoby, Al Kagan, Paula Kaufman, Emily Love, Janice Pilch, Shirley Stelbrink, and Beth Woodard who provided educational sessions for participants. Katherine Ericksen and Jamie Luedtke were essential for the success of the program and in addition to assisting with training saw to all the details that make these programs successful. Visits to libraries at Illinois Wesleyan, Loyola, Northwestern, Purdue and to the Association of College and Research Libraries added to the program.


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. The “Think Globally, Act Globally, China-US Library Collaboration” project ( www.library.illinois.edu/China/ ) is extended another year into 2011 with funding from IMLS. We expect a group of Chinese librarians at Illinois in June and other teams will travel to China in May and October 2011. The principal investigators are continuing to work with technology staff on the web portal of Chinese materials for U.S. users.


Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Contract

The Mortenson Center for International Library Programs is working with the Bill and 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 exposes 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.

This spring public Librarians from Romania were at the Mortenson Center for a four-week specially designed training program developed based on what Barbara and Susan learned during their fall visit to Romania. Thanks to Hermina Anghelescu, Liz Aviles, Greta Bever, Dee Brennan, Alice Cisna, Janet Cler, Michael Dowling (and other ALA staff), Meg Edwards, Marsha Grove (and other staff at Champaign Public Library), Jan Ison, Paula Kaufman, Debra Lissak (and other staff at Urbana Free Library), Shirley Stelbrink, Rebecca Teasdale, Kirstin Vogel, and Martin Wolske who provided educational sessions.  Librarians in a number of communities including Arthur, Champaign (main and Douglas branch), Chicago, Oak Park, Tolono, and Urbana welcomed the visiting librarians.  Visits to the American Library Association headquarters and Texas Library Association conference added greatly to the program. Siri Oswald from the Gates Foundation also was here during part of the program.  Mortenson Center staff Coral Daube, Katherine Eriksen, and Jamie Luedtke were essential to planning and delivering the educational program.  A special thanks to Claudia Serbanuta who helped with translation and organized the translators.

In May, Susan will visit Latvia to follow up on project work with public libraries who were at the Mortenson Center in Fall 2010. Susan and Barbara will visit Romania later this year for follow up on projects.


Other Visitors

IFLA/OCLC fellows from Botswana, China, Malawi, Philippines, and Serbia spent April 19 at the Mortenson Center.  Thanks to Katherine Eriksen, Merinda Hensley, Jamie Luedtke, Rae-Anne Montague, and Vicki Trimble who made presentations and to Atoma Batoma, Jenny Emanuel, Tom Teper, Karen Wei, and Joyce Wright who spent time with the visitors and provided tours of the university libraries.


Expected 2011 Mortenson Center Visitors

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

Chinese public librarians (9 expected), June 8-14, 2011



Coral Daube will leave the Mortenson Center in May to begin a new phase of her life and will move to Metamora.


Additional Information

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