Mortenson Center for International Library Programs

The Mortenson Center for International Library Programs was created in 1991 with a gift from C. Walter and Gerda B. Mortenson to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Center promotes international peace through library training programs.[1][2]

The Mortenson Center has worked with several grant agencies, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to develop training programs for librarians in developing countries.[3] They have also worked with the Carnegie Corporation and Mellon Foundation to support education efforts in African libraries.[4]

Mission: The mission of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs is to strengthen international ties among libraries and librarians worldwide for the promotion of international education, understanding, and peace.

Librarians from more than 90 countries have participated in professional development programs offered by the Mortenson Center, the only one of its kind in the world.

Activities: The Mortenson Center offers non-degree professional development programs for librarians from outside the United States. Working with international partners, we are involved in a variety of programs around the world.

Partnerships Mortenson partners assist in the development of self-sustaining centers for continuing education around the world. In collaboration with partnering organizations, we identify professional development needs, develop appropriate educational programs, and help find resources to sustain those programs. The Center often trains librarians from partner countries or regions through the Mortenson Center Associates Program.

Professional Development Programs During the Center's professional development programs, international librarians are exposed to innovative services and best practices through visits to a variety of libraries, exposure to professional organizations and conferences, and workshops from experts in library and information science. The Mortenson Center Associates Program is our signature non-degree professional development program for librarians from outside the United States. Mortenson Associates benefit from the ability to network with a diverse group of librarians while exploring current issues and trends in the field.

Annual Mortenson Center Distinguished Lecture The Center works to promote the work of international library and information science professionals through the Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture. Previous lecture topics have ranged from the social aspects of digital libraries to the role of libraries in supporting civil society.

Mortenson Center Evaluation Arabella Advisors' evaluation of the Center's past 5 years of professional development programs in librarianship.


  1. City of Champaign 2010, 2011 Organizational Award
  2. Wei 2006, p. 11
  3. College & Research Libraries News 2010
  4. Ford 2006, p. 3


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