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Montoya named US representative for Library Week in Kosovo

2018-02-26
Robert Montoya
Robert D. Montoya

Robert D. Montoya, an assistant professor in the Department of Information and Library Science at the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, has been selected by the U.S. Embassy in Pristina, Kosovo, as the representative for the United States at Library Week in Kosovo April 10-13.

Library Week, which was founded by the U.S. Embassy in Pristina in 2003, is designed to provide training for librarians in Kosovo, who are largely from backgrounds other than Information and Library Science. The country once had a library training program when it was part of the former Yugoslavia, but that program ceased to exist in the early 1990s when Kosovo began its struggle for independence. This year’s U.S. representative was invited speak on behalf of curriculum development for library training.

“It means a great deal to me to play an active part in imagining a sustainable library staff training and educational curriculum program in a country that lacks this basic infrastructure,” Montoya said. “Building these educational programs is the first of many steps toward a more educated general public. It is not often that academics have the opportunity to work in collaboration with international governments and serve the public in this way, let alone help create a professional infrastructure from the ground-up. It is my sincere hope that Library Week will provide the groundwork for a systematic and integrative framework for the training and support of librarians throughout Kosovo.”

Montoya earned his Ph.D. in information studies from UCLA and served as the head of public services for the Library Special Collections at UCLA. He came to SICE in the fall of 2017, and his research broadly examines how communities represent, organize, and share information and how the knowledge organizing infrastructures that support this exchange are affected by underlying values about knowledge. Montoya’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the International Library and Information Studies Honor Society.

“It’s a wonderful and deserving honor for Robert to be selected to represent the United States at this event,” said Raj Acharya, dean of SICE. “Building the knowledge base for the libraries of Kosovo is critical to improving the educational and research opportunities available in that young country, and it’s a testament to the reputation of our Information and Library Sciences program that one of our faculty members would be chosen to help set the agenda for an entire region’s library and information services.”

Montoya plans to use the trip not only to improve libraries in Kosovo but also help expand horizons back in Bloomington.

“It is my intention to fold the lessons learned from this experience into ILS courses in SICE,” Montoya said. “One benefit of a research university such as IU is that our students learn from our unique research and service experiences. A fundamental question such as, ‘What kind of library development structures and university curriculum would you create?’ can provide an avenue for students to articulate their own core professional beliefs as well as remind them how important our documentary work is to collective memory and cultural preservation.”

For more information on SICE’s ILS program, visit our website.

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