2014 January Newsletter

Mortenson Center Logo

Mortenson Associates 2014

The application process for the summer associates program is now complete.  Over 40 librarians from China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ghana, India, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Serbia, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe applied for the 2014 program.  The program, “Imagine, Question, Connect: A Professional Development Program for Library Innovators and Decision-Makers,” will take place in Urbana from May 29-June 14, 2014. Participants will engage with other library professionals in a variety of workshops, library tours, and will attend the Next library 2014 conference in Chicago. A number of the applicants do not have funding available so probably will not be able to participate.

READ Global

Seven READ Global staff from India, Nepal, and Bhutan will participate in the Mortenson Associates program and have some special programming as well participating in the Small Public Library Management Institute that the Illinois State Library does for rural librarians. During their stay they will also be engaged in a train-the-trainer program. They will return to their home countries to deliver training to librarians in READ Centers in all three countries.

Bhutan Library
Librarians in the URA Village READ Center in Bhutan


Mortenson Distinguished Lecture

Sanjana ShresthaSanjana Shrestha, READ Nepal Country Director, presented the Mortenson Lecture on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. Her topic was “Community Libraries as Platforms for Sustainable Development.” You can listen to or read the lecture here.

Sanjana Shrestha, 2013 Lecturer


Evaluation of Mortenson Center

Arabella Advisors, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is completing an evaluation of the past 5 years of Mortenson Center activities. In January, Susan and Barbara will meet with Arabella and Gates in Seattle to review the final report. In March Arabella will be at the Mortenson Center for an evaluation tools working session as we plan for how to evaluate Center activities in the future.  The results of the evaluation are quite positive and we will be sharing the findings in the near future.


Promotional Materials

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave us funds to update our promotional materials.  We took the opportunity to rebrand the Mortenson Center. We started the newsletter with our new design.

Download our new brochure

Future Plans

Susan will be in Ukraine for a week in February working with Beyond Access ( www.beyondaccess.net ), which helps libraries power development. She conducted a successful training program in Myanmar in November in collaboration with Beyond Access.

End of training session in Yangon, Myanmar


A proposal for new project with public libraries in Namibia funded by IREX is being finalized. In the project all of the training would be done in Africa and would include a visit to public libraries in South Africa.

International Programs and Studies has a new Illinois International Training program. One of the first requests they received was from India and the Consortium for e-Resources in Agriculture. We are working with the Training program to develop a two-week program in February for 11 visiting librarians.


Barbara continues with her activities with the US National Commission for UNESCO and will be in New York for the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs International Conference in March.  In December she attended the commission meeting in Washington, D.C.


Launch of UNESCO Center for Global Citizenship in Champaign-Urbana


Please contact Barbara Ford ( bjford@illinois.edu ) or Susan Schnuer ( schnuer@illinois.edu ) if you would like additional information.