Ingrid Thomson considers herself blessed.
She's been selected to attend an eight-week training stint at the Mortenson Centre for International Library Programmes, housed at the University of Illinois in the United States, in September and October. Thomson, subject librarian for the humanities faculty at UCT Libraries, and six other South African academic and public librarians will make up the final group on the centre's South African Library Leadership Project. The project was launched in 2000 and bankrolled by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation to the tune of more than $250 000 (now just under R1.5-million).
Among the topics that delegates will spitball with lecturers and mentors are current best-practices and future trends in the management of library services, communication issues and change-management. These are but some of the topical issues the librarian is keen to explore with American and South African practitioners.
"I'm just so looking forward to this," enthuses Thomson, who landed the spot on the course through her role as public relations officer of the Western Cape branch of the Library and Information Association of South Africa. "We're working hard to get things like information literacy going at UCT," she says, "and to pick up on other people's experiences will be just fantastic. I'm going to come back with so much."
It won't be all work, of course, especially as the trip will mark Thomson's maiden visit to the US. Teenage daughters and colleagues have already swamped her with wish lists. Rumour has it that Levis can be picked up for a snip at the Illinois shops.
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