International Relations Office


Funded by the United States Information Agency and administered by the American Library Association


The tenth year of the Library Fellows Program saw nine American library professionals undertake a diverse array of assignments around the world. The Fellows bore witness to political and cultural transformations in former Communist societies, acts of terrorism in the Middle East, and celebrations of life in South America. Most importantly, they served as emissaries of American culture, society and technology., while working closely with colleagues in their host institutions to achieve the goals of their library and information science projects. The dramatic improvement in access to e-mail around the globe for the Fellows (with the exception of one Fellow in Ethiopia), allowed for the group to share experiences with each other as they happened via an ALA-maintained listserv, and allowed for a virtual support network that had never existed with previous groups of Library Fellows. Learn about their experiences as a Library Fellow in their own words.


At the same time, five librarians from Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, and Thailand, representing the last group of librarians to participate in the International Fellows Program, arrived in the United States to begin their assignments. Hosted by a former American Library Fellow, previous Library Fellow hosts, and institutions that received a Library Fellow for the first time, all were able to adapt to the at-times-strange American culture, to achieve their professional goals. While geographically spread in Atlanta (GA), Norman (OK), Ann Arbor (MI), Eugene (OR) and Salt Lake City (UT), the International Fellows were quick to communicate with each other electronically and via professional meetings of the American Library Association. Learn about their accomplishments and reflections on their time in the United States.


Lastly, the 1996-97 Library Fellows Program supported the first Regional Institute on Public Librarianship, which took place in Cairo, Egypt in March 1997, bringing together American specialists on public libraries with librarians from 10 countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa, and American Library Fellows based in the region at the time.