2013 April Newsletter

Mortenson Center Visitors

The Mortenson Center Summer Associates Program will include 15 librarians from Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Ghana, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Nigeria, Pakistan, and South Korea. This year, the program will run from May 30 – June 25, 2013. The Associates will travel to OCLC and visit several libraries in Ohio; to Chicago to visit public, academic and special libraries as well as the American Library Association; and to Springfield to visit the Illinois State Library.  They will also participate in some programs with the LAMP associates during their summer institute at the University. http://www.lis.illinois.edu/admissions/lamp/institute/2013Institute

A group of Russian public librarians will then be at the Center from July 1-12, 2013.  This program will focus on teen and young adult services. The librarians will visit the Chicago Public Library as well as other public libraries. The Center began its work in 1995 with programs for Russian libraries and we are pleased to once again be working with them.

Read Global homepage

A new project with READ Global ( http://readglobal.org/ ) began in February and March when Barbara and Susan visited Nepal, India, and Bhutan for an in-country evaluation of staff needs in community libraries. READ Global helps communities in these countries to set up community libraries and small businesses to fund them. Country directors from READ Global will be at the Mortenson Center from September 14-19, 2013 to discuss how best to strengthen these community libraries. In addition to participating in a training program, they will present a Mortenson Distinguished Lecture.  A larger group of READ staff will attend a training program at the Mortenson Center in fall 2013 or spring 2014. The plan is to have READ staff return to their countries with a training plan and curriculum for the READ Center libraries.


Mortenson Center Activities

Barbara and Susan will be presenting a poster at IFLA in Singapore in August 2013. The title is “Twenty Years of Successful Professional Development: The Mortenson Center Model.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – Global Libraries (GL) project for public libraries in Latvia and Romania was completed when Mortenson Center staff met with the Gates Foundation staff in January in Seattle to review the project.  The final report can be found at http://www.library.illinois.edu/mortenson/activities/reports/Mortenson_Report_to_Gates_no_Appen.pdf

Susan is a member of the planning committee for the next Gates Foundation Peer Learning Meeting in South Africa in April. The 3-day meeting brings together Global Library teams from partner countries and the U.S. in order to compare different perspectives of shared challenges.  She will be presenting workshops on libraries and development at the conference.

The Gates Foundation has generously provided support for the evaluation of the Mortenson Center’s programs from the last 10 years. This will include the programs’ impact on the careers of the participants and wider library innovations they’ve set into motion after their experience at the Mortenson Center. The goal is to better understand what makes the Center and its programs successful. Arabella, a consulting group, has finished the pilot program and is requesting funds from the Gates Foundation to carry out the work. The Mortenson Center staff have been very engaged in shaping the pilot program. We hope to finish the project with an evaluation model to use in the future for projects. Jen-chien Yu has been very helpful with the project.

The Gates Foundation is also funding a review of Mortenson Center’s promotional materials to be developed by Studio 2D. In order to compete on an international stage, the Center needs to maintain a public image, but has used the same logo and promotional materials for twenty years. Studio 2D is developing a new look and graphics package for promotions and information packets. The Mortenson Center will provide the content. Printing costs are not included in the funded project. Heather Murphy has been very helpful in moving this project forward.

Beyond Access Logo

In 2012, the Mortenson Center participated in the Beyond Access Conference ( www.beyondaccess.net ) in Washington, D.C. Susan continues to work with other library organizations on a curriculum called “Development 101” to help community libraries partner with development organizations. She will be in Washington, D.C. in May to continue this work. This module might be piloted at the upcoming IFLA conference.

Future Mortenson Center projects being investigated include training for public librarians from Namibia.

The recently-launched UNESCO Center for Global Citizenship is part of a network of over 5,000 UNESCO centers, associations and clubs in more than 80 countries. This new Center is a community/university organization founded on the belief that multicultural knowledge and intercultural understanding generate a better, more interesting, productive, and -above all – more peaceful world in which to live. Amani Ayad, Barbara Ford and Helaine Silverman were the founding members of the Center. Learn more about the UNESCO Center and how you can get involved at http://cgs.illinois.edu/ucgc.

Susan Harum is working as an academic hourly at the Mortenson Center and taking the lead in the details of planning the programs for the Associates and Russian librarians.


We are always interested in new opportunities to work with international colleagues.  If you have any suggestions please contact Barbara Ford bjford@illinois.edu or Susan Schnuer schnuer@illinois.edu