2015 March Newsletter

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Since our last newsletter…


Global Library Leadership

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation just released a very interesting report that reviewed leadership training programs for librarians worldwide. The Mortenson Center is mentioned as one of the case studies.

The Global Libraries program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently released a report on library leadership programs around the world. The Cultivating Global Library Leadership report is the first of its kind – highlighting important trends in international library leadership programs and providing recommendations for improving the state of the field. It is a resource for those focused on building library leadership to ensure that libraries continue to be critical community assets.

The report explores 30 leadership programs around the world and offers practical ideas for strengthening leadership development opportunities. Among other things, the report finds that leadership programs have reached over 6,000 librarians worldwide and have offered transformative experiences that have equipped librarians to lead their libraries. At the same time, the research highlights that access to programs is limited, particularly in less economically developed regions.

Significant variation exists in program structure and content, and programs and participants are not well connected, which limits opportunities to learn from one another. Anyone interested in library leadership programs can access this valuable resource as a starting point for better understanding leadership development opportunities for librarians that can deepen the impact of libraries in their communities.

Read the Full Report

Mortenson Center awarded Bill & Melinda Gates Grant to support Global Librarian Leadership Training

The Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been awarded a $521,014 three-year grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which will help make leadership training accessible to librarians around the world.

With the funding, the Center will work toward strengthening library training providers’ ability to deliver high-quality leadership training to public librarians in order to help them position their libraries to meet critical community needs and to offer access to information and knowledge.

“There is a need for easy-to-use, high-quality, and affordable library leadership training materials in many areas of the world. With the help of this grant, we hope to develop these materials in a multimedia format, and make them widely available and accessible,” said the Center’s Associate Director Susan Schnuer. “What an exciting opportunity.”

During the development of the training materials, the Center will pilot-test them with three different library training providers in three distinct geographical locations: Myanmar, Namibia, and Armenia. The library training providers in these countries will then train 100 public and community librarians in their respective countries. An evaluation report will capture the development process and the impact of the training materials.


The Mortenson Center Welcomes Rebecca McGuire

Rebecca McGuire Rebecca McGuire starts March 2nd as the Visiting Instructional Technology Specialist at the Mortenson Center on the Bill & Melinda Gates grant project. In her new position, Rebecca will assist with the development of a multimedia library leadership package for librarians worldwide. She will work with the Primary Investigator, Susan Schnuer, on research, design, and the filming of videos. In addition, she will work for ten hours a week in the Undergraduate Library’s Media Commons.

Rebecca is finishing her degree at GSLIS. She has worked at Credo Reference as an instructional design intern. She volunteers at the Champaign Public Library and has worked on a human rights project in South Africa and an educational project for an orphanage in Nicaragua.


2014 Distinguished Lecture

Barbara J. Ford, who retired from the Mortenson Center in 2014, gave this year’s Mortenson Distinguished Lecture on October 7th, as part of the Library Research Seminar VI. “Supporting Global Research: Libraries, Access, and Social Responsibility,” explored how international networks of librarians can integrate the global context into research to support knowledge production for a globalizing era. More information and a recording of the lecture can be found on the Mortenson Center website: www.library.illinois.edu/mortenson/lectures/2014/


READ Global Project

READ Global project The READ Global training teams from Bhutan, India and Nepal completed the train-the-trainers program at the Mortenson Center in late June 2014.  Susan Schnuer attended training given by the READ teams in their countries in October/November. The purpose of the visit was to observe the training and provide feedback if needed and to actively participate if invited, the goal of the project was to strengthen libraries in READ Centers so that they provide responsive and innovative services to their users.

It was an amazing visit as all the READ Global training teams provided excellent week-long training programs which were enthusiastically received by the participants.


Partnership with the National Institute of Technology, Silchar

Poster Session Mortenson Center and University Library team visited National Institute of Technology – Silchar in January to assess its relevant needs as the first successful step in the Center’s new partnership with Kishor Sapathy the university librarian.  Paula Kaufman, Bill Mischo, Jeff Schrader and Susan Schnuer were the team members. They were also keynote speakers at the NITS international conference entitled, “What’s New in Libraries? Trends, Space, and Partnerships.” More than 100 librarians participated, the largest international library conference ever in Assam, India.


Current and Upcoming

2015 Associates Program

The Center will welcome 21 international librarians from 11 countries for the 2015 Associates Program: “Innovative, Engaged, and Responsive Libraries: A Professional Development Program for Library Leaders.” 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 .