December 3, 2019 Meeting of Mortenson Center Advisory Committee Charge and Membership

Time and Location of Meeting

December 3, 201910:00 am - 11:00 am 141 Undergraduate Library – Conference Room

Agenda Details


I. Welcome and Introductions

II. Approval of April 18, 2019 minutes

III. Personnel and Faculty Affiliates

IV. Reports and Updates

a. Post-Grant Project Welcome

  • Survey to understand refugee resettlement agencies knowledge of libraries and public libraries knowledge of refugee resettlement agencies;
  • Clara Chu serves on Serving Refugees, Immigrants, and Displaced Persons (SRIDP) Committee of ALA: World Refugee Day (June 20); Welcome Day 2020; ALA conferences

b. Professional Development Programs: Associates 2020 (Smart and Smarter: Leadership and Innovation in Libraries, May 27-june 23, 2020); Minitalks (none in 2019)

c. IMLS grants (1. Community-Library Inter-Action (CLIA): Libraries Impacting Social Transformation, 2. IDEA (Innovation, Disruption, Enquiry, Access) Institute on Artificial Intelligence)

d. Partnerships/Training: University of Pretoria, Naseej Academy, JASPUL and others, Community Libraries in Haiti (Sara Mansbach)

e. Recent and upcoming trips

V. Mortenson Center Initiatives

a. Libraries for Peace – Libraries for Peace Day 2019, September 21 (Theme: Climate Action)

b. Community-Library Inter-Action (CLIA) [US, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Spain, South Africa, India, Qatar, Canada]; IberBibliotecas Grant – partnership with Zoraida Mendiwelso-Bendek (U. Lincoln, UK), and partner institutions in Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru on IberBibliotecas grant

VI. 29th Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture: “The Evolving Library Profession and Education Driving Social Justice: A Perspective from the Global South,” by Jaya and Reggie Raju, Nov. 15, 2019, 5 pm; iSchool 126 – in collaboration with iSchool Indaba “Why Libraries? Why Librarians?” November 16, 2019

VII. Other: ASIS&T President


  1. April 18, 2019 Meeting Minutes
  2. Mortenson Center 25th anniversary brochure
  3. 2019 Mortenson Associates Program flyer
  4. Lecture postcard
  5. Libraries for Peace/CLIA bookmark

Minutes Details


Present: Clara M. Chu, Susanne Belovari, Shuyong Jiang, Qiang Jin, Ellen Moodie, William Schlaack, Yoo-Seong Song, Mara Thacker


I. Welcome and Introductions

II. Approval of April 18, 2019 minutes – the committee moved to approve minutes from the April 2019 meeting.

III. Personnel and volunteers; Faculty Affiliates; move to Main Library

a. Lonnie Clarke is the new volunteer for the center who has been using Onika software to inventory records for the Center’s reference sources as well as cataloging display case items. Faculty affiliates – Clara asked the group if they thought there might be interest in adding faculty affiliates to the center.  The group discussed possibilities for adding an affiliated faculty member.  Susanne asked what benefit someone would have for becoming an affiliated faculty member.  Mara expressed that sometimes additions can just be names added to a web site however if the roles actually include contributions to the center’s initiatives and mission, that would be ideal.  Qiang expressed that there should be a plan about what contributions they can add first and then faculty should be invited.  Susanne proposed the idea that inviting faculty to a lunch can help stir up ideas for activities.  William suggested the event should be something low intensity and Mara suggested a tea or lunch.  Clara discussed the center’s move during the library renovations and mentioned that departments such as rare books, special collections and archives would be moving into the UGL.  After a meeting with members of the library planning committee, they have become aware of the Mortenson Center’s needs.

IV. Reports and updates 

a. Project welcome – Clara expressed that there are not as many refugees coming to the US due to cut funding for programs like resettlement agencies.  Clara serves on the ALA committee for displaced persons and continues to work on projects with them purposed for World Refugee day.  Clara mentioned that the University Y plans activities for Refugee Welcome Day and that the ALA would like libraries to work with refugees for this day as well.  Sharon Han, an LIS graduate, is continuing her work in surveying libraries and resettlement agencies regarding their initiatives to work together to provide services for refugees.

b. Associates Program – Clara discussed this year’s theme of “Smart and Smarter: Leadership and Innovation In Libraries” for the 2020 Associates program.  Clara discussed the 2019 group’s visit to CITL. Yoo Seong asked if CITL allowed group visits for review of administration and quality assurance etc. and Clara noted that CITL actually coordinated the curriculum for the group’s visit.  Minitalks – Clara noted that Minitalks have not continued again however they will at a later date.

c. IMLS Grants – Clara has submitted 2 grants – one to implement community library interaction in the US, and another to present an institute that will focus on artificial intelligence in libraries. One is for the Mortenson Center and the other is for Austin, TX and Knoxville, TN

d. US-Russia Dialogue – Clara discussed the day of workshops that were arranged by the Mortenson Center for their visit with the US-Russia cohort hosted by iSchool Adjunct Professor, Ellen Knutson. The day of workshops which focused on innovation and library spaces were coordinated to include a lunch with iSchool students.

e. Partnerships – Clara discussed that JASPUL, the Japanese Association of Private Libraries and Universities, will be sponsoring one visiting librarian to attend the Associates Program in 2020.  Dr. Reggie Raju, Director of Research and Learning Services at the University of Cape Town Libraries, is working with Clara in a partnership to facilitate open access through e-textbooks in South Africa through the initiatives of the center. They are hoping to continue this partnership. Clara mentioned a donor who would like to gift funds to sponsor an Associate from Haiti however is unable to due to specifications and regulations of gift giving which make her unable to specify the recipient.  To shift the donation, Clara is exploring a project in partnership with Sharon Han and current LIS student Shannon O’Rourke who has previous experience in developing/creating libraries in the Congo to implement a strengthened library system in community libraries in Haiti. The hope is to create a model similar to that of the Uganda Community Library Association and replicate it in Haiti. It is currently unsafe to travel to Haiti so travel for research may be delayed.

f. Upcoming trips – Clara has been traveling to provide workshops, one was given at the Instituto Cervantes in Spain which has various institutions that offer language and culture programs around the world.

V. Mortenson Center Initiatives 

Clara shared the CLIA/Iberbibliotecas presentation that was given for her final meeting for the CLIA grant as a part of the Center’s Libraries for Peace initiative (  There were 3 countries and 28 projects.  Some projects focused on things that could be made for sale and items were made at the local library, other projects focused on literacy, another project aimed to paint their local light posts which was helpful due to heavy pollution in the neighborhood. One focused on creating a better environment through planting trees and another focused on improving their library by adding books to it etc.  The CLIA grant has helped members of some communities to accomplish initiatives with the help of their library that they previously had not been able to.

VI. 29th Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture

Clara mentioned that Dr. Reggie Raju, Director of Research and Learning Services at the University of Cape Town Libraries and Jaya Raju, Head of the Department of Knowledge and Information on Stewardship at the University of Cape Town, were this year’s lecturer and contributing lecturer.

VII. Other

Clara’s activities – Clara announced that she is now President of ASIS&T which hosted an international incubator session where information specialists created information action briefs. IFLA, where Clara is co-chair is trying to identify a framework for LIS education with the hope that professionals will have their credentials acknowledged internationally.

Questions – Qiang asked about the status of the AP position and Clara noted that she is currently in the process of completing steps required by human resources needed to begin.  Susanne mentioned that Marianna Tax Choldin is available for help to the center and is currently in the process of donating items to the library collection at UIUC. Yoo-Seong asked about the accommodations, meal coverage and certificates during the Associates Program. Clara informed him that the Associates stay at Newman Hall, that they receive a presented certificate upon completion and that the center often covers up to one third of the meals during the program.  Ellen Moodie asked if Associates have a difficult time getting visas, Clara informed that depending on which country the associate is coming from there are different visa requirements if any at all.  There may be some associates who get rejected during the application process however many of them are successful.  Clara discussed the different types of visas – J1/J2 & B1/B2.  Yoo Seong mentioned that maybe the curriculum should be structured more as a tourist program with workshops rather than an academic program to increase success rates for visa approval.  Ellen asked about an education justice project related issue and inquired if Clara knew of information on prison libraries around the world.  She discussed a library in El Salvador in which books on race were removed and asked if perhaps the Mortenson Center can help with getting pertinent information on prison library censorship around the world.  Ellen also mentioned a library in Danville which now charges for photocopies which poses a socioeconomic issue for people in the area.


  1. April 18, 2019 Meeting Minutes
  2. Mortenson Center 25th anniversary brochure
  3. 2019 Mortenson Associates Program flyer
  4. Lecture postcard
  5. Libraries for Peace/CLIA bookmark

Close of meeting