April 26, 2017 Meeting of Mortenson Center Advisory Committee Charge and Membership

Time and Location of Meeting

April 26, 2017141 Undergraduate Library – Conference Room

Agenda Details


I. Welcome and Introductions

II. Approval of the November 16, 2016 minutes

III. Reports and Updates

a. Grants: Gates SILL and Project Welcome https://publish.illinois.edu/projectwelcome/

b. 2017 Professional Development Programs

c. Recent and upcoming trips

d. Partnerships in-progress (Moldova, Sierra Leone, Naseej Academy, Costa Rica, Russia)

IV. Mortenson Center Initiatives

a. Policy briefs, Peace Action (http://librariesforpeace.org/ and International Day of Peace Celebration)

V. Thank You to Outgoing Advisory Committee Members

VI. Other

1. November 16, 2016 Meeting Minutes

Minutes Details


Clara M. Chu, Rebecca McGuire, Emily Kasak, Susan Schnuer, Scott Schwartz, Bill Mischo (joined later), John Randolph, Caroline Szylowicz, Susan Belovari, Yoo-Seong Song

Not Present: Martin Wolske, Shuyong Jiang, Ellen Moodie


Clara Chu began the meeting with welcome and introductions, followed by approval of the November 2016 meeting’s minutes.

Susanne Belovari is joining as new member, and she brings an international archives perspective (languages spoken: German, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, and Latin).

Reports and Updates

I. Grants: Gates SILL and Project Welcome

a. Strengthening Innovative Library Leaders (SILL) Gates grant:

i. Susan Schnuer gave an overview:

1. SILL is a half million dollar grant awarded 2 years ago. The Center’s role is as experts in leadership training, and we were asked to develop standalone materials to give to library leaders.

2. Pilot tested in Namibia, Myanmar, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Haiti, and Armenia.

3. During development, we were conscientious of how the “western approach” is often geared towards creating huge training manuals. This does not translate well internationally. Our approach, instead, has been to deliver training in a series of many short videos. The approach has been well received.

4. Work on grant is coming to an end, and we are now work on tying the pieces together.

ii. Rebecca McGuire gave an update on the most recent trainings, including working with the British Council in Bangladesh and the Islamic Relief in Tunisia.

iii. General discussion on SILL:

1. Susan Schnuer noted that training materials have been translated to Bangla and Arabic. Additionally, there is a French version, but it is not fully translated. Most often, we have to use interpreters during training.

2. Susanne Belovari asked about funding from Gates for translation.

a. Susan Schnuer noted that in the last Gates meeting, they discussed translation, but more information will be known after Cameroon. IFLA also possess possibilities for translation. Re: training, though, it is not necessary to translate everything, and we have worked with different partners (Burmese, etc.) to work on translations.

3. Susan Schnuer shared that the training materials are designed to be adapted for the local culture. Places are created in the training that are meant to be updated for the local context – i.e. “how do you adapt and make it yours?”

4. Susanne Belovari asked for clarification on video adaptation.

a. Susan Schnuer clarified that the videos are meant for trainers, not participants (we are training the trainers). So adaptation does not happen at that level – adaptation happens from trainers to participants.

b. Susan Schnuer also noted that videos are often just of activities, so not a lot of words (for translation). Though, we can do subtitles where applicable. Most experienced trainers, however, have good English comprehension.

5. Susanne Belovari asked where the videos can be found.

a. Rebecca McGuire noted we have them on YouTube but focused on the Media Space (via Media Commons). No log in needed, just need link.

6. Susan Schnuer noted that Gates is really focused on Africa, and they want to focus more on train the trainer in this region. She also indicated that all work must be completed by November 2017, and we cannot ask for no-cost extension.

b. IMLS Project Welcome grant:

i. Clara Chu introduced the grant and gave updates:

1. Grant is in partnership with ALA.

2. Grant seeks to address – how are libraries serving refugees and asylum seekers, and if not, what are the needs?

3. Data gathered through listening sessions, and this informed our topics and focus for the PW Summit.

4. PW Summit overview:

a. Two-day summit in Chicago.

b. Posters and Thought Leader Panels were presented.

c. Thought Leaders were individuals specifically invited and selected for representative experiences, including people in government agencies working to resettle refugees and asylees, as well as those working in a library setting including international and local librarians, and a refugee now working in a public library.

d. First day was information sharing; second day was Thought Leaders coming together to come up with action agenda.

e. Mortenson and ALA will continue to lead group to pull together actions.

f. Thought Leaders Meeting & Library Services Continuum

i. Key issue that emerged was the range of needs that exist, and that libraries should consider these needs whether or not they have funding or if they have refugee users.

1. Group decided to work towards developing a Public Library Services Continuum (LSC).

2. Thought Leaders will get together in May to co-develop the LSC and will present a working document at the ALA annual conference to get input/feedback.

3. LSC will be available online, as well as printed and distributed to public libraries across US.

5. Clara Chu explained we have been granted a no cost extension to develop the LSC.

6. General discussion on Project Welcome:

a. Project became unexpectedly timely with the travel ban coming just before the summit. Subsequently, the state department pulled out support/representation at summit.

b. Susanne Belovari asked for further clarification on the LSC – she wondered if the range of services and activities would be done with or without funding?

i. Clara Chu provided further explanation on what the LSC looks like/what are its roles and functions. These questions are precisely why we want Public Library representation present in conversations, so we can address these questions during development.

c. Yoo-Seong Song asked about materials being available. He is working with the iSchool on immigrant population and services, and he would like to share with students as they might want to be in contact with some of these people.

i. Clara Chu clarified that yes – PowerPoints and audio from the Summit are both available online. The LSC will also be available once complete.

II. 2017 Professional Development Programs

a. Associates Program

i. Rebecca McGuire provided an update on 2017 planning and program:

1. We have about 12 associates from 8 different countries; we still have a couple waiting on visa approval.

2. Schedule is almost finalized, and will be sent soon to participants – library visits include ALA and University of Chicago, Springfield, and OCLC.

ii. General discussion:

1. Susan Schnuer noted that visa issues are starting to really affect our program in terms of people who can come.

a. Scott Schwartz asked about reasons given for visa troubles.

b. Susan Schnuer noted it is nothing specific or in particular.

2. Susanne Belovari asked about offering a digital/online version of the program/training.

a. Susan Schnuer mentioned this is something we’ve discussed. Additionally, we’ve discussed offering a program in another country.

b. Global Connections

i. Clara Chu and Susan Schnuer updated the group. The idea is still in planning stages, and we are in continuing discussions.

III. Recent and Upcoming Trips

a. Susan Schnuer updates:

i. Rebecca and Susan are heading to Cameroon, and before that, Susan will be in Kenya working with Kenya National Library Board working on Train the Trainers to institutionalize training in public libraries in Africa.

ii. Susan and Rebecca will present a poster at IFLA to talk about SILL.

b. Clara Chu updates:

i. Collaborations in Middle East:

1. Workshop presentation to research students at University College London Qatar on research methods.

2. Last November, Clara presented a workshop on makerspaces and learning spaces in Bahrain, as well as a pre-conference workshop on marketing, library information, and quality assessment.

3. From this work, we have established a partnership with Naseej Academy.

ii. Other trips and research on refugees:

1. NIU, Alabama; library trends and innovation in Mexico; Maryland – L4P initiative – starting to do training on how libraries can promote peace – partnered with Mary Lee Kennedy to do one day workshop on libraries promoting peace.

IV. Partnerships in-progress

i. Moldova program, update provided by Susan Schnuer:

i. IREX organization, which is a non-profit that works out of DC and is active in Russia, contacted us to train group from Moldovan. They will have 12 librarians, and we will be running the program in Romanian. Susan Schnuer was able to visit libraries and get a sense for the context, which was a big help for thinking through the program.

ii. The libraries in Moldova are much more civically engaged –

1. Example: There was a billion dollars that disappeared from the national government. It was finally “found”, and as a way to show how much money that really way, the libraries created a billion fake dollars and put it on display at the library.

2. Susan met with the Deputy Ministry of Culture who actually came to library, which was very different from experiences in other contexts. They are much more civically engaged and this is a really interesting aspect to their work.

iii. John Randolph asked if Dimitri Tokofsky might be a good person with which to connect.

1. Susan Schnuer said we have connect with Dimitri, and we are also working with Claudia Serbanuta who is Romanian and was Interim head of the National Library.

2. Bill Misho asked if Claudia was in the iSchool – Susan Schnuer confirmed yes.

ii. Sierra Leone, update provided by Susan Schnuer:

i. Working with university which was started by UIUC. They are really interested in working with the university and library. We are looking at bringing a Librarian for next year.

iii. Naseej Academy, update provided by Clara Chu:

i. The Academy is an arm of the Naseej Company. They want to focus on leadership training and development in the Gulf region. They have provided two scholarships for two Associates this year. They hope this is successful and they would like to continue. The Special Library Association Arabian Gulf Chapter is also looking for other opportunities to deliver training and content.

iv. Costa Rica, update provided by Clara Chu:

i. Quite a bit of work last year in Costa Rica.

ii. Clara and Susan went last year for the SILL program, and they had chance to talk about potential future opportunities. Looking at working with University and applied for funding for Library Camp – half would be faculty from US and half would be faculty and librarians from Costa Rica. Public libraries would describe issues they would like addressed, and then camp would come up with solutions. May not happen – it has taken long, and nothing further has developed.

iii. University is interested in furthering faculty education and would like to have stronger faculty with more MLIS and PhD qualifications. Steve Witt and Allison Witt were able to visit Costa Rica recently, and looked into what programs would be able to support this work. Steve is in process of looking at condensed study abroad with iSchool and Global Studies.

1. Susanne Belovari asked how long the camp would be.

a. Clara Chu indicated it would be an intensive, one week camp.

v. Russia

i. Susan Schnuer noted that Russia is our oldest, and most longstanding, partner beginning with Marianna Tax Choldin (founding Director). Right now we are working on dialogue between US and Russian librarians. We are currently asking – What can we do with that longevity/that connection? What is the purpose? What do we want to do?

vi. OCLC

i. Clara Chu updated the group on our partnership with IFLA/OCLC fellows:

1. We’ve been doing an exchange for over 6 years.

2. Typically, they visit a day or two at the Mortenson Center, with their 2017 visit at the beginning of April, which went well.

3. We will take our Associates to OCLC during the summer program.

Mortenson Center Initiatives

I. Policy briefs, Peace Action

i. Clara Chu noted that this initiative hasn’t taken off because we are still waiting on approval for the award. It is a graduate student competition, and we hope to partner with the iSchool. The call will be developed on a particular theme, and we will invite students to submit a policy brief for consideration. We will select winner, and then publish a public brief.

II. Libraries for Peace

i. Clara Chu provided updates on this initiative:

i. We encourage libraries to celebrate International Day of Peace – we map “celebrations” (GIS), and libraries can find each other and see what people are doing. Last year we asked libraries to pledge UN Sustainability Goals.

ii. Currently co-developing how we can strengthen our engagement with communities. Some areas of distinction:

1. Will not be how libraries can create stuff for communities, but work with communities.

2. Will provide a framework for working with communities, and how these things are related to civic engagement.

3. The library role might be – space, support, partner.

4. Co-developing and inviting librarians to UIUC for two days, after which, we will develop a preliminary guide.

5. The guide will be available online, and we will solicit feedback from libraries.

6. Colombia:

a. The guide will be translated into Spanish, and we will then offer similar training in Columbia, after their recent peace treaty.

b. We are working in Colombia to:

i. See how libraries can be a space for community engagement.

ii. Allow us to see how guide can work, or be expanded, to work in in different circumstances and contexts.

7. General discussion:

a. Bill Mischo asked what role the Take Part research cluster is playing.

i. Clara Chu replied that the Take Part research cluster had a 3-year grant in the UK, and they’ve worked with many different agencies, and had 1-2 library examples. However, they’ve mostly worked with social services, so we are helping to take what they’ve done and move the conversation into libraries.

b. Bill Mischo asked for clarification if we are adapting what they’ve done, or if they are using frameworks the Center has developed. Additionally, if this work is intended to support libraries in Columbia, or if we also intend to work in multiple languages.

i. Clara Chu replied that Take Part and Mortenson are working together to develop a shared framework. We will be working in Colombia, but we also hope to use the framework beyond work in Colombia.

c. Susanne Belovari indicated she has a particular interest in this project, as she was an Archivist in Colombia and in the International Peace Guard.

i. Clara Chu asked her to stay after meeting to briefly discuss.

Other Topics

I. Bill Mischo asked for update on SILL – if we’ve added more countries and what is the role of the Gates Foundation.

i. Susan Schnuer replied that Gates gave us money, and they are actively involved in development. As a result of the grant, Susan is also a part of the worldwide discussion of what happens after Gates is out of libraries.

ii. Rebecca McGuire noted Gates has also made many of the connections to our local partners.

iii. Susan Schnuer added that Gates wants us to continue to build those partnerships, particularly in Africa.

II. John Randolph commented that the work of the Center is so impressive. The programs are so thoughtful and amazing work is being done.

i. John Randolph posited – since the Mortenson Center does so much training, perhaps there is a broader interest in training for campus academic units (examples: junior scholar training workshops, digital humanities workshops), would it be possible to do a panel or a presentation to meet with Mortenson to talk about experience on doing trainings? We are very skilled at trainings as a genre; there isn’t as much expertise on the university campus, and it could be a great benefit to the university.

ii. Susan Schnuer said that after doing this for 25 years she’s learned more in last 3 years on training than ever before. With SILL, when we did the first round, we realized it’s too heavy and too “western” minded – where we put everything in our training materials. However, we’ve learned, keep it as simple as possible and focus on repetition. This is a really different way of thinking. With SILL, we do mini lectures, no more than 7 minutes. These strategies work well in the developing world.

iii. John Randolph noted that this model could be really beneficial in the US for community outreach programs, hybrid education.

iv. Bill Mischo agreed and that it would be very useful for Rebecca and Susan to write about it.

III. Scott Schwartz wondered how we could use some of these tools/ideas (e.g. train the trainer) to help engage younger children, and how we can engage people, and youth, through the arts. Art is perhaps a safer medium, as it’s not political.

i. Susanne Belovari commented that using the arts, instead of ‘peace’, to connect could be worth consideration because we aren’t leading with the ‘political’.

IV. Susanne Belovari asked if the Mortenson Center is focused on leaders or the public.

i. Clara Chu shared examples of more public, tangential work, including library meet ups with librarians working together to address political issues and Barbara Jones with other librarians on how to give new literacy workshops for public.

ii. Susan Schnuer stated, though, that our primary focus is librarians.

iii. Rebecca McGuire highlighted the indirect connection, that through librarians our work is engaging the public (Mortenson is not the direct connection, however, the librarians are).

V. Scott Schwarz asked where “is” the peace movement, and how do we connect it with primary source of content? The culture. You can’t put culture/oral history in books. Is this the Mortenson goal – are we trying to walk a more narrow path?

i. Clara Chu commented that we want to try to be responsive to community concerns, and specifically how libraries can serve as community anchors to help provide tools. However, we are limited in what we can do because of people, resources, and funding. Further, we can have a message, but if no one is listening, then we have no traction. Part of our goal with Libraries for Peace is to ask the question – is there interest in libraries?

VI. Yoo-Seong Song mentioned he is going to lunch with Korean general and President Killeen, and he will mention Mortenson in these conversations. Additionally, he is working with Kazakhstan and talking with someone at ministry of health regarding women’s health. They want to raise the level of medical information, and e-Granary, and he may visit Kazakhstan.

i. Susan suggested he touch base before he goes to share names, etc., since we have contacts there.

Thank you to Outgoing Members

The meeting concluded with recognition of service to outgoing members of the Advisory Committee – Bill Mischo, Scott Schwartz, and Caroline Szylowicz. Clara Chu passed out thank you cards, bags, USBs, pens, and bags.

Minutes prepared by Emily Kasak