November 16, 2016 Meeting of Mortenson Center Advisory Committee Charge and Membership

Time and Location of Meeting

November 16, 2016141 Undergraduate Library – Conference Room

Agenda Details


I. Welcome and Introductions

II. Approval of the April 4, 2016 minutes

III. 25th Anniversary

a. Communications (Webpage: and LibGuide

b. Celebration/Recognition activities (Mortenson Center in 3 Words (#MortensonIn3), University Library Pedometer Challenge, Costa Rica, Associates program, ALA Tribute, IFLA, Lecture program, inc. investiture)

c. Fundraising initiative (Bob and Kay Merrick matching gift)

IV. Reports and Updates

a. Grants: Gates SILL and Project Welcome

b. 2016 and 2017 Professional Development Programs

c. Recent and upcoming trips

d. Partnerships in-progress (Lemann Institute, BA, Costa Rica, Russia, Moldova)

V. Mortenson Center Initiatives

a. Policy briefs, Peace Action ( and International Day of Peace Celebration)

VI. Strategic Alignment and Communication


  1. April 4, 2016 Meeting Minutes:
  2. 25th Anniversary brochure

Minutes Details


Present: Clara M. Chu, Shuyong Jiang, Bill Mischo, Rebecca McGuire, Emily Purcell, Susan Schnuer, Yoo-Seong Song, Scott Schwartz

Not Present: Susanne Belovari, Ellen Moodie, John Randolph, Caroline Szylowicz, Martin Wolske


25th Anniversary
Clara Chu showcased the Mortenson Center 25th Anniversary webpage and discussed the various activities that have occurred this year to celebrate. These activities include the matching donation from Kay and Bob Merrick, an ALA tribute, a celebration in the field with Costa Rican librarians, and a Distinguished Lecture Program with author Ann Morgan.

The Center had also developed a LibGuide to document and record Mortenson Center activities. This LibGuide will act as a sort of institutional repository/archive.  Rebecca McGuire and Eric Kurt have also created a video to celebrate the 25th anniversary with interviews from past directors Marianna Tax Choldin, Barbara J. Ford, and Paula Kaufman and with Walter C. and Gerda B Mortenson son and daughter-in-law, Ray Mortenson and Jean Wardle.  Scott Schwartz asked about the hits on the webpage/LibGuide and if we had a sense of the stats? Bill Mischo suggested using Google Analytics.  Clara Chu said that the Mortenson Center began to report its social media stats in the unit’s annual report and after setting up Google Analytics, it has now started to report on webpage stats for FY16.

Reports and Updates
Susan Schnuer provided an overview of the SILL program. Explained that the purpose of SILL is to focus on the individual. The goal of SILL is two-fold: 1. Does this program have an impact on libraries and communities?, and 2. Can they be used as standalone program? Pilot tested SILL in Namibia, Myanmar, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Haiti, and Armenia.  To help out, Susan and Rebecca have developed videos and other training materials. Over 100 public librarians have been trained. Materials have been successful. Its website will be launched by June/July 2017. The plan is to make materials freely accessible. Materials are resonating with people. Susan and Rebecca are working to make it easy to hand materials off to people.  Scott Schwartz asked if this was leadership training. Susan Schnuer explained that it was leadership training but it’s also a mindset shift. It’s very interactive.  Schwartz then asked if it was aimed at people outside the library.  Bill Mischo then asked if there was anyone on campus doing anything like this.  Susan Schnuer further explained that the approach of SILL is different. SILL is saying that everyone has the ability to be a leader and they just need training. This program is also focused on problem solving. A lot of people have never been asked to think analytically about a problem in their library.  Bill Mischo asked what the Gates Foundation is paying for.  Susan Schnuer noted that the Gates Foundation was covering the cost of the entire project and sub-awards, except for her salary.  Scott Schwartz mentioned that assessing the impact was what he was most interested in.

Susan and Rebecca mentioned that they have an independent evaluator, Rebecca Teasdale, who travels to observe the SILL training and then assesses and evaluates it. Susan would be happy to share reports with Scott Schwartz and the Advisory Committee.

Project Welcome
Clara Chu provided an overview of Project Welcome. Project Welcome is a one-year planning grant in partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) to develop recommendations and an action agenda on information resources, services, training and research needed to support the resettlement of refugees and asylum seekers in the US. The goal is to strengthen the collective impact of libraries, community anchors, and refugee organizations to support resettlement and integration.
Clara Chu mentioned that she and Susan were able to go to ALA and have listening groups. This discussion along with consultation from refugee organization and libraries will result in a thought paper.

The Mortenson Center is a planning a two-day Summit and Thought Leaders meeting in Chicago in February 2017 to explore solutions. The second day will just be the thought leaders with people from refugee organizations along with librarians.  Following the meeting the Center will develop with ALA a set of recommendations and an Action Plan to present to IMLS.  Scott Schwartz asked if the program was largely focused on libraries working with communities in the US or outside the US.  Clara Chu said in the US but it could benefit libraries outside the US and refugees who have family members outside the US. Chu then highlighted several library initiatives in the US aimed at providing refugee services.  Bill Mischo asked if Clara was trying to gather a clearing house of all those program.  Scott Schwartz then asked if Clara and Susan were considering issues that may arise given the new White House administration.
Clara Chu said that they will have to wait to see what happens.

Professional Development
Clara Chu gave a quick overview of the 2016 Associates Program. The 2016 program had low attendance due in part to visa issues and financial challenges experiences by librarians.

The Mortenson Center is currently reviewing applications for the 2017 Associates Program. Susan Schnuer mentioned that we will also have a group of Moldovan librarians in July 2017.

One program that the Mortenson Center had hoped would take place was the Global Connections program in partnership with the International and Area Studies Library and Joe Lenkart. Due to few applications, the program was canceled.

Recent and Upcoming Trips
Clara Chu visited Qatar in May and will be returning at the end of November for a workshop related to learning and makerspaces in school libraries.  Clara and Susan visited Costa Rica in April to conduct leadership workshops at the University of Costa Rica and the National University Of Costa Rica, held in Spanish and English.  Susan, Rebecca, and Eric Kurt traveled to India, Nepal, and Bhutan in June and July to pilot test the SILL program. They worked in partnership with READ Global.  Rebecca McGuire and Rebecca Teasdale traveled to Armenia in October to pilot test the SILL program in partnership with the Armenian Library Association.  Planned trips for next year related to SILL include Ethiopia, Ghana, and possibly Bangladesh.  In 2017 Susan Schnuer will be traveling to Armenia and Moldova.

Last Fall discussions for a partnership were stared with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. They have recently indicated that they no longer have funding.  The Center participated in the review of the Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies, and has discussed opportunities to partner on Brazilian library projects.

Russia – In discussion with Russian partners on creating a space to address the need to have dialog among public and academic libraries in the US and Russia.

In planning process on a partnership with Moldovan librarians for a program in July 2017, similar to a past project on building capacity with Romanian librarians. The Mortenson Center has been traveling with Eric Kurt to get media for the visualization wall in the Grainger Engineering Library.

Mortenson Center Initiatives
Policy Briefs
Clara Chu briefly talked about the Policy Brief publication series. They will come about with submissions from students. The first one will address cultural heritage issues. The Mortenson Center will be working with the Intangible Cultural Heritage Group at the iSchool.

Libraries for Peace
Worked with James Whitacre and others to build a web portal and Facebook page. The project is asking for libraries around the world to pledge or celebrate or share stories that advances peace. Right now the Mortenson Center is looking at how to continue to develop the initiative and enhance its work for its second year.

Strategic Alignment
Clara Chu stated that the work of the Center is aligned with the Library’s strategic plan as reported in its F16 unit annual report. Input on the communication piece is welcome. Chu also asked how we can engage people?  Bill Mischo mentioned that we can leverage presentation equipment at Grainger.

Meeting adjourned.