2013 August Newsletter

Mortenson Distinguished Lecture

READ Group Sanjana Shrestha is READ Nepal Country Director and will present the next Mortenson Lecture on Tuesday, September 17 at 4 pm in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science Room 126. Her topic is “Community Libraries as Platforms for Sustainable Development.”

Sanjana has been with READ Nepal for nine years and has served as Country Director since January 2009. Prior to READ, Sanjana was a Project Coordinator and Researcher with the Manushi for Sustainable Development organization in Nepal. Sanjana was also involved in project evaluation work in various organizations such as Save the Children US, Winrock International, and German Technical Cooperation.

Under Sanjana’s leadership, READ has been the driving force behind the strengthening of the Nepal Community Library Association (NCLA), which helps READ Centers advocate and lobby for rights. Sanjana’s expertise and facilitation skills have been critical in expanding the READ model to India and Bhutan.

Sanjana serves as the READ Global representative for Beyond Access, an initiative of IREX, EIFL, IFLA, Makaia, Facilitating Change, Development Gateway, The Asia Foundation, TASCHA, the Riecken Foundation, and READ Global, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Beyond Access has started a movement to raise awareness of the powerful role that libraries can serve as hubs for economic and social change.

Recently, Sanjana received a Nomura Centre CONFINTEA scholarship from the UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning (UIL) to write an article based on empirical research showing the impact of sustainable community libraries. She was in Hamburg, Germany in May 2013 for research work in partnership with UNESCO.

Sanjana is serving as a Steering Committee member of the Association of International Non-Government Organizations in Nepal (AIN) and has served as an International Advisory Board Member for the Access to Learning Award of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in humanities and social science from Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu.

For the past 21 years, READ (Rural Education And Development) Global has been active in the building and libraries in the three countries. With its roots in Nepal, READ has partnered with rural communities to establish 53 libraries (known as READ Centers) all over Nepal. During this time, the READ model for a typical community library has evolved so that it now includes not only library services—books, periodicals, and access to technology and the Internet—but also sections devoted to women’s empowerment and early childhood development, venues for community meetings, and livelihood and health training. In the process, READ Centers have become hubs for a variety of life-changing, community-based activities and programs.

Additionally, a unique and defining element of the READ model is the creation of an associated “for-profit” sustaining enterprise for each library. These enterprises – chosen by the community and ranging from sewing centers to ambulance services to community radio stations – are managed by the local community and generate income to sustain the library in the long term.

READ Global staff at Mortenson Center

Country directors from Bhutan, India, and Nepal as well as Executive Director Tina Sciabica will be at the Mortenson Center September 14-20, for a program that will include planning for the training of Read Global staff in 2014. Susan and Barbara visited READ Global libraries earlier in 2013 to learn about the project and gather background information for the training programs. In addition to the Mortenson Lecture the visitors will also meet with others on campus and speak with classes in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. http://readglobal.org/

Summer 2013 Mortenson Programs

The 2013 Mortenson Associates Program drew librarians and information technology professionals from Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Kyrgyz, and Pakistan. They participated in programs at the Mortenson Center from May 29-June 26, 2013. The program focused on better understanding U.S. libraries; developing skills and techniques in management, leadership, and communication styles; better understanding fundraising, marketing and advocacy; gaining additional knowledge in the stewardship of digital and print collections; learning about new library technologies; and developing a professional network of colleagues. The Associates visited OCLC, ALA headquarters in Chicago, Chicago Public Library, Loyola University Library, Upshot Integrated Marketing Library, Illinois State Library, Eastern Illinois University Library, Ohio State University Library, Westerville Public Library, Parkland College Library in addition to the Urbana and Champaign Public libraries, the Prairie Research Institute Library, and various libraries at the University of Illinois. In Springfield, they attended an Illinois Libraries Lead program with Susan Hildreth from IMLS and Anne Craig from the Illinois State Library. Associates also participated in a program with LAMP (LIS Access Midwest Program) Summer Institute Scholars which provided an opportunity to meet other librarians. The Altrusa Club of Champaign-Urbana hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for the Associates which was a good exposure to American culture. The Friends program with staff at the University of Illinois library was popular and provided opportunity for individual interaction and learning.

2013 Leaders Group

The educational program for 27 Russian public librarians who were here to learn about how public libraries are managed in the U.S. and how youth services are organized and managed in public libraries was held July 1-July 13. During the two weeks they were at the Mortenson Center, the Russian librarians toured a number of libraries including the Center for Children’s Books, Urbana Free Library, Champaign Public Library, Evanston Public Library, and Chicago Public Library.  At these libraries they met with librarians and learned about providing services for young adults. The Russian librarians attended presentations on U.S. public libraries, how libraries support international development activities, youth librarianship in the U.S., current topics in youth services, customer services, leadership styles, America’s history through culture and music, and marketing for public libraries. They also visited the American Library Association and Amish country.

Presenters for these two programs included: Susan Braxton, Andrew Cougill, Med Edwards, Jim Hahn, Francis Harris, Merinda Hensley, Paula Kaufman, Kathleen Kern, Betsy Kruger, Eric Kurt, Bill Mischo, Lisa Romero, Scott Schwartz, Sarah Shreeves, Deborah Stevenson, Martin Stromberg, Jennifer Teper, Carol Tilley, Dan Tracy, and Lynn Wiley. Friends of the Mortenson Associates were: Jenny Emanuel, Valerie Hotchkiss, Shuyong Jiang, Joe Lenkart, Jamie Luedtke, Gretchen Madsen, Kelly McCusker, Leila Hussein Moustafa, Yuriko Oono, Scott Schwartz, Antonio Sotomayor, and Steve Witt.

Others who hosted or presented to visiting Mortenson Center Librarians include: Robert Burger; Jan Ison; Chris Hagar; Michael Dowling, Mary Ellen Davis, Barb Macikas and Beth Yoke from the American Library Association; Greta Bever, Adrienne Strock, Robin Willard, Lilya Zigelman, Craig Davis, Mark Andersen, Andrew Medlars, Joan Levey, and Brian Bannon at Chicago Public Library; Shirley Stelbrink of Learning Alliances; Marsha Grove of Champaign Public Library; Alice Cisna of Arthur Public Library; Don Barlow of Westerville Public Library; Nancy Lensenmayer and George Needham of OCLC; librarians of Ohio State University; Anne Craig, Kathy Bloomberg, Cyndy Colletti, Sandra Fritz, and Sharon Ruda of the Illinois State Library; Anna Maria Watkins of Parkland Library; Allan Lanham and staff of Eastern Illinois University; Janette Pierce of Loyola University; Liz Aviles of Upshot; Dawn Cassady, Joel Spencer, Anne Phillips, Lora Fegley, and Anke Voss of Urbana Free Library; and Renee Neumeier of Evanston Public Library.

Lindy Wheatley from the Mortenson Center staff oversaw all the logistical details of the programs for the visiting librarians. Susan Harum worked as the Mortenson Associates and Russian program coordinator and arranged an informative program much appreciated by the participants. Stephanie Chung was the graduate assistant who helped make the programs successful. Interpreters Tatiana Luchkina, Maria Dorofeeva, Nellie Manis, Anastasia Gusicova, Zhanna Lehmann and Jan Adamczyk, Dmitry Tartakovsky, Kit Condill and other staff from the International and Area Studies Library who helped with the Russian visit were essential to the success of the program.

We thank everyone who helped make these programs successful! The Mortenson Center could not do the work we do without the support of our colleagues at the University and in the library community.

IFLA 2013

Barbara and Susan will present a poster at IFLA in Singapore in August. The title is “Twenty Years of Successful Professional Development: The Mortenson Center Model.” Susan will also be speaking at two programs. Susan will present a workshop about libraries powering development and speak at a session called Taking Charge of Your Career.

Ongoing Projects

Center Staff is continuing to work with Arabella Advisors’ staff on evaluation of the past 5 years of Mortenson activities. A pilot project was completed and now Arabella has received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to do a broader evaluation and provide a model that can be used to evaluate future programs. Jen-chien Yu has been very helpful with this project.

Rebranding of the Mortenson Center is also underway with the help of Studio 2D and Heather Murphy.  This effort is also funded by the Gates Foundation.

Fall Outreach

Susan will be the keynote speaker at the LIASA (Library and Information Association of South Africa) 15th Annual conference in October. The theme of the conference is Libraries in Dialogue for Transformation and Innovation.

Barbara will present the Bryant Jackson lecture in September at Illinois State University on how libraries can help universities become more global. In October she will speak at the Wisconsin Library Association and her topic is “In Librarianship Women Hold Up Half the Sky.” In October she will also travel to the University of British Columbia as part of the accreditation team for the ALA accredited program at the university.

The U.S. Department of State, on behalf of the U.S. Embassy Harare, Zimbabwe invited Barbara to participate in a State Department Speaker Program on “Current Library Trends in the U.S.” in fall 2013 for 5 days. Barbara also will participate in the Library Society of China meeting in Shanghai in November.

Barbara and Susan have been invited to participate in the final Biblionet conference in Romania at the end of October, the theme of the conference is Future Communities – Open Innovation Fair.

If you have questions or suggestions for the Mortenson Center please contact Barbara Ford (bjford@illinois.edu ) or Susan Schnuer (schnuer@illinois.edu).