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Training at Mortenson Center PDF
Mortenson centerThe 2011 Summer Associates program of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs was held at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, from May 29 to June 22, 2011. It was attended by two BLIA representatives - Spaska Tarandova and Nikolina Ivanova-Bell, appointed after a competition of the Association at the end of 2010.
 
 

Mortenson Center is best known for offering professional development programs for librarians from around the world. Its mission is to strengthen ties between libraries and librarians worldwide for the promotion of international education, understanding, and peace. To present day, the Center has trained more than 900 librarians from over 90 countries.

The theme of this year's program was "Librarians of Tomorrow: Communication and Leadership." Compact and intense, the program focused on the diversity of communication styles and on the development of leadership skills and teamwork.

The main objectives of the program were the participants to be able to get a better idea of libraries in the U.S., to build a professional network with colleagues from other countries, to learn about modern technologies and best practices in the library field, to enhance their own leadership and communication skills, to learn of innovative communication tools, to learn about opportunities for external subsidies, as well as techniques for writing grant proposals.

The group consisted of 12 representatives from 9 countries - Egypt, Ghana, China, South Korea, Nigeria, Japan, Bulgaria, Italy and Uganda. Coming from various types of libraries (academic, public and special), contributed a lot by forming specific discussions and presentations, led to better understanding and exchange of ideas, to sharing the best practices, applicable to those particular institutions. Informal groups were formed, and despite the cross-cultural differences, all participants found commonalities in their professional priorities and future challenges.

Organized lectures and workshops gave an overview of current trends in the library field in the U.S.. A number of professionals were invited to share their expertise and experience.

Tours to a wide variety of American libraries demonstrated successfully implemented new technologies and practices. Five academic, seven public and three special libraries were visited. Among the most exciting visits were those of the Headquarters of the American Library Association (ALA) in Chicago, Illinois, and the OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) in Dublin, Ohio. Visits in the News Gazette and Chicago Tribune were interesting in terms of observing new marketing strategies that these media corporations undertake in time of financial crisis.

The Mortenson center 2011 Program enable the formation of a diverse group of librarians, who studied current issues and trends in the field for three and a half weeks.
Sharing and learning of national characteristics, building cross-cultural competences, discussing and understanding of global issues, engaging in range of learning activities, practical exercises, establishing partnerships, were valuable lessons that everyone involved took enthusiastically with hope to help for the development of the libraries in their own countries.

Nikolina Ivanova-Bell

 

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