Thursday, October 29, 2020

30th Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture featuring Mike Thomson, author “Syria’s Secret Library”

JOIN US for the 30th Annual Mortenson Distinguished Lecture with BBC World Affairs Correspondent, Presenter and Author Mike Thomson, author Syria’s Secret Library: Reading and Redemption in a Town Under Siege (Public Affairs 2019) 

16 November 2020; 12:00-1:30 pm CT 

(use for time conversions) 

 FREE Online Event - Register at: 

 Distinguished Lecture Website and flyer: 

ABOUT MIKE THOMSON: Mike Thomson is one of the BBC’s most distinguished and experienced World Affairs correspondents. During his career, he has interviewed many military and political leaders including Margaret Thatcher, George Bush, Joseph Kabila, King Hussein, Meles Zenawi and most recently the Liberian President, George Weah. His agenda-setting reporting has taken him to many of the world’s biggest trouble spots. These range from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to Somalia, Eastern DR Congo, Darfur and the FARC controlled jungles of Colombia. Mike has won more than twenty major awards for his work. These include: News Journalist of the Year (Sony Radio Academy 2012); Broadcast Journalist of the Year (One World Media Awards 2008) and War Correspondent of the Year (Prix Bayeux Calvados Awards 2008-Radio) These prestigious prizes are in addition to four Amnesty International Media Awards (three of them in consecutive years), five Sony Radio Academy Awards and four Foreign Press Association Awards. Mike is also a renowned BBC presenter, Editor of: The Raqqa Diaries: Escape from ‘Islamic State’ (Hutchinson 2017) and author of Syria’s Secret Library (Orion 2017 and 2019; Public Affairs 2019). 

 CO-SPONSORED BY: Center for Global Studies through support from the US Department of Education’s Title VI NRC Program Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Department of Journalism, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Mortenson Center for International Library Programs School of Information Sciences University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

International Zine Librarians (un)Conference 2020! Registration/Schedule

Please join us for the International Zine Librarians (un)Conference from October 30** – November 1, 2020!

The following link has information on IZLuC, what an unconference is, schedule, and registration:

Connect online: Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

**NOTE: The IZLuC will be starting at 0:00 UTC on 30 October. Depending on where you are in the world, the first sessions may begin on 29 October in your time zone.

IZLuC Organizing Group

Monday, October 26, 2020

Upcoming Webinar - Reaching national impact in Kenya and Namibia: EIFL’s strategy for public library development

 Date and Time: Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 10:00am Central Time (GMT-5) | 11:00am Eastern (GMT-4)

Join us for a webinar session to learn about EIFL’s (Electronic Information for Libraries) capacity building initiatives for public librarians in Kenya and Namibia. Using a combination of key partnerships, an extensive capacity-building programme, and a network of public libraries, EIFL and its national partners – The Kenya National Library Service (knls) and the Namibia Library and Archives Service (NLAS) developed a sustainable in-house continuous professional development program for public librarians.  Already over 650 librarians have received training from expert local trainers.  EIFL is looking to expand and adapt this program to other EIFL partner countries in Africa, where public libraries have been or are being equipped with public access computers and the internet.  In the session we will review EIFL’s approach and plans for the future, and you will hear from local librarians about the impact of the program. Strengthening continuous professional development of public libraries in Kenya and Namibia is part of EIFL’s broader capacity building initiative for public librarians in Africa. Read more!


  • Susan Schnuer, EIFL- Public Library Innovation Programme (PLIP) Capacity Building Manager, USA (former IRRT Chair)
  • Caroline Ngacaku, Principal Librarian, knls/Muranga Public Library, Kenya   
  • Kaltuma Sama, Head Librarian, knls/BuruBuru Public Library, Kenya        
  • Yusuf Ganyana, ICT Officer, knls/Kibera Public Library, Kenya
  • Aletta Dunn, Chief Librarian/ Public Libraries, Namibia Library and Archives Service (NLAS), Namibia

Moderator: Dr. Ugne Lipeikaite, EIFL, PLIP Impact Manager, Santiago, Chile.

Advance REGISTRATION required.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Sharjah International Library Conference Transforms to Virtual Forum for November

 Sharjah International Library Conference Transforms to Virtual Forum for November


It is critical that libraries and librarians continue to connect and share during these unprecedented times.  Libraries and librarians are needed more than ever to support their communities across the globe struggling to manage and move forward in the time of COVID 19 and beyond.  The pandemic has challenged library directors, managers, and staff to manage crisis, create new services, and develop and enhance skill sets while maintaining health and well-being. 


Though the situation in the United Arab Emirates is good, due to the global rise of cases and travel restrictions the 7th Sharjah International Library Conference is being postponed until May 2021, and will be held in conjunction with the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival.


The organizers are pivoting to host the Sharjah Virtual Library Forum, November 10-12 which is free to all librarians, library workers and exhibitors around the world who register. 


The theme remains “Libraries and Librarians Meeting the Challenges in New Normal.”


The Forum will be available in English and Arabic.


On November 10th, ALA President Julius C. Jefferson Jr., Acting Director of the Researcher and Reference Services at the Library of Congress will keynote the first day of the live-streamed Forum.  President Jefferson’s presentation will be “Meeting the Challenge in Times of Crisis”


Each day, there will be two hours of presentations from librarians from different types of libraries on how they have pivoted or how transformation needs to be taking place now and for beyond the pandemic.


Planned presentations include:
“Leading Staff Responding to the Challenge: Flexibility, Creativity, Reorganization and Wellness Care”- Shaikha Al Muhairi, Director of the Libraries Department, Abu Dhabi Department for Culture and Tourism, UAE
“What happens when a strategy meets a crisis?” -Stuart Hamilton, Head of Libraries Development at the Local Government Management Agency, Ireland
"Staff Development in Time of Covid and Beyond: Challenges & Opportunities" - Heba Mohamed Ismail, Libraries Technical Manager at Egypt's Society for Culture & Development and Secretary of IFLA Continuing professional Development and workplace learning Section (CPDWL)
Do's and Don'ts for Successful Risk Management in Libraries" - Emad Saleh, Professor, Information Science Dept., Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt. Vice president of the Arab Federation for Libraries & Information. Former director of Egyptian National Library
“How to Keep Students Engaged” - Amanda Gintaut, Teacher-Librarian, GEMS Dubai American Academy, UAE

“Expanding School Librarians Role in Virtual Learning” - Saeed Khalid, Librarian, Ibn Khuldoon National School, Bahrain

English  |  Arabic  (PDF file)


All publishers, distributors, and library service providers who want to reach a global library audience, are also welcomed to register free of charge to showcase their books, catalogs and online services.  Both librarians and exhibitors will have the opportunity to message each other and to set up virtual meetings. 



Registration  is free for librarians, library workers, and exhibitors for the Sharjah Virtual International Library Forum and the recording will be available through December 2020. Librarians and exhibitors can register at



For information about library registration, contact Delin Guerra at


For information about exhibiting virtually, contact Janet Fritsch, or Jon Malinowski,

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Webinar - Responding When COVID Comes to Your Library: Learning from Real Stories

 “Responding When COVID Comes to Your Library: Learning from Real Stories’

Free recorded webinar (one hour and 15 minutes)


To view, register at


Despite best efforts and planning your library may be faced with the reality of a positive COVID exposure.  Hear from three public libraries in the United Sates on how they responded when they were confronted with a positive case situation. How had they pre-planned? How did they handle the challenge? How did the Director and Board work and communicate with staff, health department, government officials, and the public?  What tips, lessons learned, and insight do they have? 

Featured speakers:

·       Alissa Williams, Library Director, Morton Public Library, Illinois 

·       William Shorter, Jr, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Anne Arundel County Public Library, Maryland 

·       Skip Auld, Chief Executive Officer, Anne Arundel County Public Library, Maryland 

·       Amanda B. Jackson, Library Director, Chesapeake Public Library, Virginia 

Alissa Williams has served as director of Morton Public Library District for the past five years and has more than 15 years of experience in library marketing and collection development.

Skip Auld has been Chief Executive Officer of Anne Arundel County Public Library since 2010. He has also served as a library administrator in North Carolina and Virginia libraries.


William Shorter, Jr., is Chairman of the Anne Arundel County Public Library Board of Trustees. He previously served as Second Vice Chairman of the Board. At 23, he is believed to be the youngest head of a library board in the nation. 

Amanda Jackson has served as Director of the Chesapeake Public Library System (Virginia) since 2018. Prior to that she was the Director of the Gadsden Public Library (Alabama) with 15 years’ experience in public library leadership.



(This webinar was presented on Sept 28, 2020)



Michael Dowling


International and Chapter Relations Offices

American Library Association

225 N Michigan Ave

Suite 1300

Chicago, IL 60601

p +1 800-545-2433 ext 3200

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Call for IRRT Executive Board Nominations


A Call for IRRT Executive Board Nominations  is still on. IRRT Nominating Committee is looking for IRRT members who are passionate about international librarianship to run for Executive Board membership.

We are looking for emerging leaders who can bring a fresh perspective and new energy to our organization as well as accomplished leaders who can share their organizational knowledge and experience with others. Building a network of library professionals, finding your group of dedicated colleagues, continuing to learn and contribute to the field of librarianship in this challenging time is more important than ever. 

We are looking forward to receiving your nominations! Please note the deadline of October 15th is approaching!

Saturday, October 3, 2020

ALA resource site assists US libraries with UN Sustainable Development Goals

 The American Library Association’s Task Force on the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has updated its website with new resources to help libraries highlight their efforts to help their communities to end hunger; ensure gender equality; provide quality education; and encourage sustainable practices.

Resources include new visual charts from the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) that speak to each of the 17 goals and can serve a model for other libraries. To help meet Goal 7- Clean and Affordable Energy- LAPL notes that seven of their branch libraries have solar panels owned by the publicly owned water and power company.  To foster Goal 3- Good Health and Well Being- LAPL partners with agencies and organizations that provide those in need with free dental and eye exams, eyeglasses, flu vaccines and access to health insurance.

"From increasing educational opportunities to developing awareness of environmental stewardship to modeling sustainable practices in our libraries, we join libraries around the world committed to a better future for our planet."  Said John Szabo, Los Angeles City Librarian.

The website now also provides a recording of the webinar presented by the Task Force entitled Libraries Contributing to Meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals: a call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.

“The UN Sustainable Development Goals provide U.S. libraries another way to tell the story of how they are positively impacting their communities and participating in global efforts to effect positive change” said ALA President Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

Loida Garcia-Febo, Task Force Chair and ALA Past President, will be sharing ALA’s efforts with other nations at upcoming events including a forthcoming webinar with the German Library Association.

Announced 09/22/2020


Michael Dowling


International Relations Office