Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Barbara J. Ford, Distinguished Professor Emerita at the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library.
As delegation leader for our upcoming journey to Vietnam and Cambodia, I would like to pass along to you what I hope to get out of our trip. As you consider being part of this delegation, know that our team will experience a lot and bring back memories for a lifetime.
I have enjoyed international travel and interacting with other cultures since I was a Peace Corps. I have found that travel that relates to my passion about and work with libraries is especially meaningful and memorable. I first traveled with People to People in 1985 when I went to China as a member of a group of library and information professionals. It was the trip of a lifetime and led me to greater interest in international libraries and travel and gave me new insights into my work in academic and public libraries in the U.S.
I have had the opportunity to travel to countries around the world as part of the work I did at the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at the University of Illinois. From this experience I know that librarians around the world want to learn more about U.S. libraries and welcome international visitors and the opportunity to share ideas. Libraries in Asia are particularly interesting at this time since they are developing to meet the information needs of their changing communities.
Traveling to both Vietnam and Cambodia will make this trip even more memorable since we will be able to compare and contrast libraries in the two countries. I have been to Vietnam several times in a professional role and been impressed with the commitment of librarians to the work they are doing. It is a dynamic country where citizens are increasingly understanding the power of information and libraries. It will be interesting to return with a group of colleagues where we can share our experiences and learn from Vietnamese colleagues and one another. I very much look forward to visiting and learning about libraries and culture in Cambodia.
People to People provides a wonderful combination of professional interaction and cultural experiences. With strong international contacts, People to People is able to set up a unique program that provides insights into other cultures. In addition to libraries, I look forward to experiencing Angkor Wat which is a UNESCO world heritage center and a site of great interest to people around the world. You can find additional information about the delegation at www.peopletopeople.com/ala or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call 877-787-2000 to join us! You will not regret it.
Barbara J. Ford
ALA Past President, 1997-1998
Distinguished Professor Emerita
Mortenson Center for International Library Programs
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library