Voice of Exchange

elena gorodiskaya

Elena Gorodiskaya

Cataloging Department,
Russian State Library
Moscow, Russia

Mortenson Center Associate in the USA

I am writing to express my deep gratitude to the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I was lucky to participate in the 2006 Fall Associates Program. These eight weeks were one of the best experiences in my life. I was not aware how little I had known until I took classes and seminars in the Mortenson Center. They covered all areas of library and information sciences: library management, web design, library services and many others. Besides, we were given an opportunity to meet library professionals we were interested in. I would like to thank the staff of Cataloguing and Metadata services of the University Library at Urbana-Champaign (especially, Gail Hueting, senior cataloguer, who were answering my questions with patience), and the staff of UIS Brookens Library. I was amazed by how open and friendly they were - they were always willing to share their knowledge and experience with us.

In addition, participating in the Associates Program allowed us to visit many various libraries, organizations, and meetings including the Illinois State Library, the American Library Association and OCLC. We were really excited about our 6-day stay in Chicago and attending the 2006 Illinois Library Association Annual Conference. Thanks to all these visits I came to understanding why the librarian is such a respectable profession in the U.S. - It is the result of great efforts of every member of the library community and constant willingness to help people.

I cannot but express my admiration about how wonderful the program was organized, especially taking into account that our group was not a single one hosted by the Mortenson Center at that time. The accommodations, the various extracurricular activities arranged for us, and the transportation were excellent. We really enjoyed our stay in the U.S. I wish to express my appreciation to all staff of the Mortenson Center: Barbara J. Ford, Director and Distinguished Professor; Susan Schnuer, Associate Director; Dawn J. Cassady, Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator; Dixie Trinkle, Center Secretary; Michelle Ralston, Graduate Assistant; and Suisie Durflinger.

I think what I learned in the U.S. has changed my professional perspective for better and let me know what wonderful people live in other countries.

The Associates Program was not only a great learning opportunity but also cultural and language experiences. Librarians from Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, Russia, Nigeria, Colombia and Chile participated in this program. Our international group consisted of 16 most brilliant people I have ever met. Over two months we got to know many interesting things about the each other's countries which would be impossible to do by only reading books. But the most important thing was that we all became very good friends.