2014 August Newsletter

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Since our last newsletter…

In May the Mortenson Center hosted 5 IFLA/OCLC fellows for two days.  This is a long-standing partnership between OCLC and the Mortenson Center who have agreed to work together on hosting international visitors.

2014 Associates Program

2014 Group 16 librarians from 11 countries participated in the 2014 Mortenson Associates program. They were joined by 8 READ Global staff from India, Nepal, and Bhutan who also participated in the Illinois State Library’s Small Public Library Management Institute designed for rural librarians and experienced customized programming at the Center. The Associates program focused on “Imagine, Question, Connect,” designed for library innovators and decision-makers. The entire group was invited by the Chicago Public Library and the Urban Libraries Council to participate in the first US-based Next Library conference in Chicago, where they had the opportunity to meet Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel.

As always, the Mortenson Center is grateful to the UIUC and local library colleagues who help deliver the training for the Mortenson Center programs. In 2014, over 44 colleagues agreed to offer sessions; they include Linda Smith, Kate McDowell, Barry Pittendrigh, Julia Bello Bravo, Joe Lenkart, Laila Moustafa, Steve Witt, Sarah Williams, Sarah Christiensen, Ann Craig and incredible staff at the Illinois State Library, Alice Cisna, Madhu Viswanathan, Deborah Stevenson, Celeste Choate, Jeff Ginger, Vicki Trimble, Frances Harris, Marsha Grove, Meg Edwards, Henry Hebert, Amy Cougill, Mary Laskowski, Beth Sandore, Robert Watson, Sarah Shreeves, Lisa Hinchliffe, Sue Searing, Kathleen Kern, Tom Teper, Jen-Chien Yu, Alan Lanham, Merinda Hensley, Karen Hogenboom, Lynn Wiley, Melinda Miller and Cate Kompare, Anna Maria Watkin, Meghan Hayes Mahoney, and Jim Hahn.

In addition, the Mortenson Center ran its successful Friends program.  Colleagues from the university agree to “friend” one of the international librarians and commit to spending time with them. Over 83% of the 2014 Mortenson Associates indicated that the Friend experience was “extremely satisfying.” 2014 Friends included Atoma Batoma, Lesley Lee, Gretchen Madsen, Joe Lenkart, Lynne Rudasill, Laila Moustafa, Lisa Hinchliffe, Sue Searing, Kathryn LaBarre, Mary Mallory, Karen Hogenboom, Erin Kerby, Chris D’Arpa, Bill Mischo, Scott Schwartz, Qiang Jin, Greg Knott, David Griffiths, Mara Thacker, Kelly McCusker, Dan Tracy, Steve Witt, and Rand Hartsell.


Ford Retirement

On May 31, the Center saw the departure of Barbara Ford, who retired.  Her leadership and energy have guided the Center for more than a decade, and her leaving will impact the Center staff as well as the University Library.  She will be missed.

NIT Silchar Agreement

NIT Silchar Argeement

Early in June, the Mortenson Center signed a partnership Memorandum of Understanding with the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Silchar. The University has been developing a partnership with NIT Silchar, which will be formalized in September 2014. Our first activity of the partnership will be a conference and assessment visit to NIT Silchar early in 2015.


IREX invited Susan Schnuer to Namibia for two weeks in July. Rebecca Teasdale, a library consultant, was also a member of the Mortenson team. The purpose of the visit was to work with the Ministry of Libraries and Archive Services (MLAS) to develop a partnership and training program for public libraries. During the visit the Mortenson Center team toured one of the new regional public libraries. MLAS is very interested in working with the Mortenson Center on the development of a leadership training program.

Current and Upcoming

The Mortenson Center’s major challenges for the future include the transition to new leadership, funding, and addressing the recommendations in the evaluation report from Arabella Associates.

Paula Kaufman has agreed to serve as Interim Director of the Mortenson Center for up to one year while the University Library carries out a search for the next Director and Mortenson Distinguished Professor. Paula serves on the search committee and she and Susan are engaging in the active recruitment of strong potential candidates.

2014 Distinguished Lecture

Ford Barbara J. Ford will give this year’s Mortenson Distinguished Lecture on October 7 th , as part of the Library Research Seminar VI. “Supporting Global Research: Libraries, Access, and Social Responsibility,” will explore how international networks of librarians can integrate the global context into research to support knowledge production for a globalizing ere. Much research is inter-disciplinary and cross cultural and is best done with a diverse, knowledgeable, and socially responsible worldview. Librarians can help by building networks that provide access to collections, services, and people for researchers globally despite cultural and linguistic differences. A reception will follow the lecture.

Future Plans

As the first step in our new partnership with NIT Silchar, visit the institution in winter 2015 to assess its relevant needs, participate in the international conference it offers, and develop local capabilities.

The Center has just announced the topic for 2015’s Associates Program: Innovative, Engaged, and Responsive Libraries. The program will be held May 28 – June 23, 2015.

For additional information contact Paula Kaufman at ptk@illinois.edu or Susan Schnuer at schnuer@illinois.edu .