2012 January Newsletter

South African Visitors

The next group of Mortenson Center visitors will be here from February 21-March 10, 2012 as part of a Carnegie grant to improve library support for researchers in South African university libraries. Librarians from University of Pretoria, Rhodes University, University of Witwatersrand, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Cape Town, and Stellenbosch University will learn about how librarians interact with researchers and what it takes to provide research support. In addition to programs at the Mortenson Center, the group will visit OCLC, Ohio State University, Purdue University, University of Chicago, Center for Research Libraries, Upshot Library, Newberry Library, and the Association of College and Research Libraries. Following the program at the Mortenson Center, each librarian will spend several weeks at an ARL library in Canada or the U.S.


Mortenson Associates 2012 Program

Over 30 applications have been received for the 2012 Summer Associates Program which will be held May 26-June 19. Applications are from Australia, Barbados, Bulgaria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Serbia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe. Funding will determine how many are able to participate in the program. Tools for the 21 st Century Librarian will offer unique, individualized, non-degree training for librarians and information technology professionals from outside the United States. During this program, Mortenson Associates will engage in workshops, tours, and presentations on novel and innovative practices and services.


Lecture Supported by Mortenson Center

On Tuesday, March 6 at 4:00 pm in Library Room 66, Deborah Jakubs, the Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian and Vice Provost for Library Affairs at Duke University, will speak on “The Global Dimensions of Scholarship and Research Libraries”. The lecture is sponsored by the Mortenson Center and will be the inaugural event for the new International and Area Studies Library. There will be tours of the library and a reception before and after the lecture.


Carnegie and MacArthur Africa Grants

Susan Schnuer traveled to Nigeria and Ghana in October for the final visits to the libraries we have been working with for six years as they have received training on using technology to better serve library users. Atoma Batoma went to the University of Dar es Salaam in September to provide cataloging training as part of this project.

These grants will end in 2012 and as a result, university libraries with automated systems and improved services for users will be available at universities in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.


IMLS China Grant

The Center continues to work with Shuyong Jiang on the IMLS Grant with Chinese public libraries. In October, another group of U.S. librarians including Barbara Ford, Shuyong Jiang, and Paula Kaufman traveled to China to present educational sessions and to participate in the Library Society of China conference. In the spring, a team of U.S. librarians will visit China to continue work on the web portal of Chinese materials for U.S. users. A final group of Chinese public librarians supported by this grant will be at the University of Illinois in early June.


Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Contract

The Center is working with the Foundation to support training programs for public librarians in Latvia and Romania.  In November, Mortenson staff visited Romania and Latvia to continue working with them on projects they started at the Mortenson Center. This was the last visit to Latvia and it was very good to see how the public librarians have been able to use what they learned at the Mortenson Center and the technology they were able to purchase with small grants to introduce new services to their communities. Librarians in Romania are just beginning to implement their projects and Mortenson staff will visit again in 2012 to see how the projects are developing.  In September, Susan participated in the Peer Learning Meeting in Seattle for the Gates Foundation.
Mortenson Center Receives Humanitarian Award
The Mortenson Center for International Library Programs was selected to receive a 2011 Champaign-Urbana International Humanitarian Award for its efforts to facilitate international cooperation through research and education and to strengthen ties among libraries and librarians worldwide. Over 900 librarians from over 90 countries, have participated in professional development programs offered by the Mortenson Center—the only one of its kind in the world. The Center was nominated for the award by the Champaign Public Library. The cities of Champaign and Urbana and the 2011 Champaign-Urbana International Humanitarian Awards Steering Committee honored the Mortenson Center during a reception on September 29, 2011.

The Champaign-Urbana International Awards were originally created in 2003 to honor individuals/organizations whose work contributed significantly to international understanding, cooperation and development and has educated the public about the connections that exist between our local and global community.

U.S. National Commission for UNESCO

Barbara J. Ford was appointed to the Commission in 2011 by the U.S. Secretary of State following nomination by the American Library Association through the International Relations Committee. On November 28, Barbara participated in her first meeting of the Commission when 85 members of the Commission met in Washington, D.C.  There was lively discussion at the meeting about a range of topics related to UNESCO. U.S. engagement with UNESCO including U.S. funding for UNESCO were the topics of greatest interest.


Special Libraries Association Arabian Gulf Chapter

Mortenson Center staff will travel to Bahrain in March to make a presentation at the annual meeting for the Special Libraries Association Arabian Gulf Chapter at the invitation of a former Mortenson Associate.



Five librarians who are part of the IFLA/OCLC Early Career Development Fellowship will be at the Mortenson Center in the spring. Librarians from Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Pakistan will spend four weeks in a continuing education program organized by OCLC. They will come to the Mortenson Center in April for several days as part of the program. The partnership between OCLC and the Mortenson Center provides the opportunity for international visitors to have programs at both locations.


Haiti and Russia

The Mortenson Center has worked with librarians in Haiti and Russia over a number of years and is continuing the partnership with activities in early 2012. Center staff will participate in the Annual Conference of the Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL) in Pétionville, Haiti in June 2012 at the request of colleagues in library leadership roles in Haiti.  In May, Center staff plan to visit Russia to explore additional opportunities for collaboration. There is considerable interest in school libraries in Russia and at the suggestion of the Mortenson Center, Francis Harris will participate in a conference on school libraries in Russia in July.



Lindy Wheatley is the new staff member in the Mortenson Center.  She is hard at work getting ready for the visits of the South Africans and Mortenson Associates in 2012.  Please stop by and welcome her to the library.


Additional Information

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