#6: The Mortenson Center

Work at the Mortenson Center facilitates globalization in the global library context.  Their work to provide training is done in a culturally sensitive way.  In the BBC informational session, Susan Schnuer, in talking about participation in IFLA, observed that “in many ways worldwide flow across time and space goes in one direction, from developed countries and multinational corps to rest of world.”  In being sensitive to the unique needs of any particular library around the globe, Susan is promoting the Mortenson Center’s mission to “strengthen international ties among libraries and librarians worldwide for promotion of international education, understanding and peace.”  This sensitivity is also evident in treatment of Moldovan public librarians, who had taken a Western idea and tried to make it work in their own library, but were steered toward developing their own programs with their own communities in mind.  

Additionally, Rebecca McGuire’s SILL project also adheres to the mission, in that target communities are encouraged to use a revision cycle of implementing programs that ends up with the best results for the community.

Because, as Susan said, Mortenson is a Northern organization, and this tends to mean that flows of information tend to be unidirectional, I see where some would see the Mortenson Center as an imperialistic effort to inject Northern ideals of librarianship into the South, I feel that the checks and balances in place keep the organization a viable,  effective means to aid groups that can benefit from the expertise of highly trained mentors.

Reference: BBC session, “Globalization and the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs”

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