Note: ALA Recap…

7.7.16 – For everyone who attended the IRRT program, Leaning International, at the recent ALA annual conference in Orlando…it was great to finally put faces to names and to hear everyone’s stories.  I am just sorry time was so short and that I did not not have the chance to really talk to everyone who came and is interested in working and living overseas.

I am hoping they will expand this program into two next year: a panelist program such as they have had the past two years, as well as a program speaking directly to those who are interested in pursuing international opportunities.

As a member of IRRT, I will be suggesting this, however if anyone else has any ideas of what they believe should be offered, please share.

And my apologies to anyone whom I did not get to spend time with…

Safe travels, Sarah P.






Spotlight: Meet International Librarian Joan Petit

6.18.16 –  Here is news about one of the panelists participating in the upcoming Leaning Internatonal IRRT Program which is part of ALA 2016 . We are creating a list so we can all learn a little about each other and to help connect before, during, and after the program. However this information is for all librarians everywhere so feel free to connect via the blog or write me an e-mail.

Petit2016Joan Petit is the Communications and Outreach Librarian at Portland State University in Oregon. She coordinates communications for the library and serves as the liaison to Black Studies. Before joining Portland State, she lived in Egypt for two years and worked as Instruction and Reference Librarian at the American University in Cairo, from 2007-2009 (before the Egyptian Revolution). She wrote about her family’s experience in Cairo for the Oregon Library Association Quarterly.
In the upcoming academic year, Joan will be on sabbatical from Portland State (a great privilege after earning tenure last year!). In September, Joan, her family, and their dog will travel to Ethiopia, where she’ll be serving as a Fulbright Scholar in the Information Science department at Jimma University for ten months.
Joan holds MSLS and BA degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as an MA in English from Western Carolina University. And she really can’t believe her good luck and fortune.

Spotlight: Meet International Librarian Brenda Hahn

6.21.16 – Here is news about one of the attendees of the upcoming Leaning International IRRT Program which is part of ALA 2016 . We are creating a list so we can all learn a little about each other and to help connect before, during, and after the program. However this information is for all librarians everywhere so feel free to connect via the blog or write me an e-mail.

Brenda Hahn PhotoBrenda M. Hahn, MLS

Why the IRRT? My work history includes two years working in a library at an IB school in the Middle East. Working with classroom teachers and students, with a global curriculum, inspired me to model this higher-level 21st century life-long learning skill set, and I have never looked back. This experience brought home to me the value of creating a global perspective at the center of academic and enrichment-based life-long learning—no matter what library I am in.

Over the past 13 years, I have worked in schools and public libraries, with a range of patron demographics. My school experiences include IB and Title I programs; and I have implemented grades K-12 curricula. I have been a Family & Youth Librarian in a public library, implementing enrichment-based programming. Over time, I combined the best of my academic and enrichment library work into a transferable skill set that allows me to move between school and public libraries.

In the last year, I took time to complete my graduate degree, splitting my MLS program between school and public libraries. My undergraduate degree in Business has been put to excellent use, as I have opened three libraries (two elementary and one high school), including managing substantial budgets, researching vendors and technology, and holistic planning. I have revamped several library spaces as well. I opened my first library while completing my undergrad—this happened because I had an amazing library mentor and a perceptive administrator, who both saw my skill sets, knew my work ethic, and who trusted me to get the job done.

Exploring global learning in all its forms is what I do, because that’s what my patrons explore and want to be prepared for. I look forward to making new friends at the ALA Conference in Orlando; at IRRT—where I just know there will be fellow librarians who will share new perspectives and ideas, adding another layer to my quest for all things global in libraries.

Spotlight: Meet International Librarian Sara Rizzo

6.10.16 – Here is news about one of the attendees of the upcoming Leaning International IRRT Program which is part of ALA 2016 . We are creating a list so we can all learn a little about each other and to help connect before, during, and after the program. However this information is for all librarians everywhere so feel free to connect via the blog or write me an e-mail.

(FYI: For more information about working for Nazarbayev University please search ‘Nazarbayev’ in the blog.)


srizzo.jpgSarah Rizzo: After finishing my MLIS in 2013, I accepted a job  at Nazarbayev University Library (NUL) in Astana, Kazakhstan. I started in the Patron Services department, but later moved to the Reference Department. Additionally, I served as the subject librarian for the School of Humanities & Social Sciences (SHSS). During my time working there, I spearheaded many successful outreach programs and initiatives. When I started, SHSS faculty and students were among the lowest populations of library users, but by the time I left they couldn’t get enough of our services. I also taught several training sessions and workshops for librarians in the region so they could start similar projects in their own libraries. My last few months at NUL were spent on electronic resources management and ILL. After two years there, I decided it was time to come back NJ. I returned August 2015 and am currently the Electronic Resources/Serials Management Librarian at Caldwell University in Caldwell, NJ.

Program: Internationalizing your library: How to spice it up!

6.2.16 –  Internationalizing your library: how to spice it up!
IRRT Preconference Program, ALA Annual Conference, Orlando, FL, USA

Sarah P’s comments:  Another program with an international theme at the American Library Association Conference…





Internationalizing your library: How to spice it up!
Strategies for all types of librarians (Public/School/Academic/Gov’t-Nat’l) – IRRT Preconference

Friday, June 24  8:00 am – 1:00 pm   Orange County Convention Center, W205A

What does it mean to Internationalize?

Libraries and library and information professionals play an important role in a global world. “Internationalizing” your library can take many forms: it can mean providing other-language materials or ESL/citizenship classes in a public library; it can mean adding literature from other lands in a school library; it can mean offering outreach and instruction to international students in an academic library; it can mean increasing foreign partnership collections in a government/national library; and much, much more. It is a reflection of your level of engagement in international activities in your library. And even more. Register to participate and let’s brainstorm together!

Why should you attend this training?

This is unique opportunity to hear and learn from experts with exceptional experiences in internationalizing libraries. This is the only event of its kind at ALA Annual—a unique opportunity to meet, hear and learn from the best in the field. This training will provide you with specific “recipes” and “plans for actions” as well as “tool kits” on what new internationally oriented activities can be implemented in your library. Moreover, this training is intended to provide you with the new concepts, approaches and philosophies on internationalizing your libraries.

Who are the speakers/trainers?

This preconference will feature specialists from all 4 library types (public/school/academic/government-national), providing strategies for internationalizing. Participants will gather in subgroups of the 4 library types to hear their own specialists, ensuring getting the most relevant (tailored) information.

  • Public: Mary Givins (Pima County Public, AZ) and Chris Cairo/Jackie Nytes (Indianapolis Public)
  • Academic: John Hickok (California State Univ., CA) and Beth Cramer (Appalachian State Univ., NC)
  • Government/National: Joan Weeks (Library of Congress, DC) and Felicia Chan (National Library, Singapore)
  • School: Ann Symons (Juneau School District, AK/ International school, Moscow, Russia)

What will you bring back to your libraries?

Unlike regular ALA sessions that are short and sometimes general, this preconference will be intensive and training-oriented. The speakers/trainers will present real-life examples of internationalizing, and step-by-step instructions on implementing it at your library. Namely, “here’s what we did…here’s how we did it…here’s the challenges to expect…here’s how to overcome them…here’s the results.” You will be able to bring back to you libraries a tool kit of ideas and strategies. Don’t miss this unique opportunity!

Spotlight: Meet International Librarian Meggan Houlihan

6.2.16 –  Here is news about one of the panelists participating in the upcoming Leaning Internatonal IRRT Program which is part of ALA 2016 . We are creating a list so we can all learn a little about each other and to help connect before, during, and after the program. However this information is for all librarians everywhere so feel free to connect via the blog or write me an e-mail.

MegganMeggan Houlihan is the First-Year Experience and Instruction Librarian at New York University in Abu Dhabi.  In this role Meggan collaborates with the Office of First-Year Students, Writing Program, and Writing Center to equip freshman with basic information literacy skills.  She is a former Coordinator of Instruction at The American University of Cairo, where she handled instructional activity, assessment, and outreach. She is currently serving on the Information Literacy Network of the Gulf’s Steering and Professional Development Committee, LIRT Conference Planning Committee, and IRRT Conference Planning Committee. She is the former Coordinator of Professional Development for the American International Consortium of Academic Libraries. She is a graduate of Indiana University (MLS), the University of Reading, UK (MA Modern History), and Eastern Illinois University (BA History).Her research interests include information literacy in the Middle East, library outreach, and student learning.

Meggan enjoys running, yoga, reading, and traveling. At the time of publication, she has explored thirty-five countries. Only 161 more countries to go!

Impressions of her first year…
My first year in Cairo was wild!  When I landed at the Cairo International Airport, there was a porter with a sign for “Mr. Meggan Houlihan.”  I think that sign set the tone for my four years in Cairo–so many random unexplainable things happened, but I put a smile on my face and kept moving forward.  I learned to adjust, haggle, and navigate the maze commonly know as Cairo.  I immersed myself in the culture and the city. Then the Egyptian Revolution happened and things went from crazy to insane. It was incredible. Overall, my first year in Cairo was one of the most memorable years of my life, and Cairo will always feel like home to me.
How she found her first international position…
I found my first international job on ALAjoblist.  Most Western-style institutions will advertise on ALAjoblist or the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Why she wanted to work overseas…
I’ve been consumed by wanderlust since I was sixteen. After studying abroad in Wales and attending graduate school in England, I knew I wanted to get back out into the world. AUC gave me that opportunity.
Advice for others who would like to do it…
When I received my initial offer from AUC, I contacted my library school mentor to discuss the details of my contract.  My offer was lower than expected. (What?! I was under the impression that international librarians made a lot of money. I thought I would be able to tell Sallie Mae to get lost and spend my time eating cheese in exotic locations. It turns out this is not the case.) I was bummed. We discussed everything in detail, and then she finally asked, “What does your heart of hearts say?”  My heart of hearts said go to Cairo. Live. Travel. Eat (cheap) cheese in exotic locations. So that’s what I did.
My advice? Follow your heart of hearts…

Spotlight: Meet International Librarian Elana Grayson

5.27.16 –  Here is news about one of the panelists participating in the upcoming Leaning Internatonal IRRT Program which is part of ALA 2016 . We are creating a list so we can all learn a little about each other and to help connect before, during, and after the program. However this information is for all librarians everywhere so feel free to connect via the blog or write me an e-mail.


View photo in messageElana Grayson just completed her first year as the Middle School Librarian at Korea International School, Jeju Campus, a for-profit Nursery-12 American-style school on Jeju Island, South Korea. She currently provides services to just over 200, mostly Korean, middle school students and 40 international faculty. Previously, she was the only Librarian at The British International School of New York, a Nursery-8 for-profit independent International Baccalaureate school in Manhattan. She holds a Master in Library and Information Science degree from Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus.


I have always wanted to live and work abroad and recall making a list in high school of all the cities in which I hoped to live. During one of my library student teaching experiences, the Librarian told me about a friend of hers who worked in a DODEA library and I was hooked on the idea of international librarianship. I was lucky enough to land a US based international school job as my first full time position, which allowed me to put both international and IB experience on my resume.


After consulting with a few coworkers, I opted to sign up with Search Associates for my international job search. Overall, I was pleased with their system and will use them again for my next job hunt. However, I did not attend any Search fairs because they assigned me to one that had no library openings. Instead, I went to the Queen’s University fair where I was offered two positions, neither of which I took because I was offered my current position via Skype that same weekend.


I ended up in a place I’d never heard of in a country I never considered with no regrets. I love living abroad and have no plans to return to the US anytime soon. It finally feels like I’ve found my people. They understand the perpetual need to wander and all say they left previous positions “because it was time to move on.” They get it. I would recommend this experience to everyone though not every location fits every person. I have learned that while escaping from a city lifestyle is relaxing, there needs to be a certain amount of urban excitement for me to feel whole. But that is OK and I can’t wait to see where this career takes me next…

Spotlight: Meet International Librarian Sam Crawford

5.10.15 –  In the upcoming weeks I am going to be spotlighting librarians with international experience who are planning on attending ALA 2016 and the Leaning Internatonal IRRT Program.  We are creating a list so we can all learn a little about each other and to help connect before, during, and after the program. However this information is for all librarians everywhere so feel free to connect via the blog or write me an e-mail.

Sam CrawfordSam Crawford, MLIS
Academic Librarian at Northern Marianas College (NMC)
Saipan Island, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)

Since January, I’ve been working as the Academic Librarian at Northern Marianas College (NMC) on the island of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).  I’m still learning “how things work” on the island and within the College itself, but I’m continuing to dig into this opportunity, full force, and I am thrilled beyond measure to be here. 

Broadly, I would describe myself as a musician and self-proclaimed “library nerd” with a bent towards the creative.  I earned degrees in music from East Tennessee State University (B.M., Vocal Music Education, ’09) and New York University (M.M., Music Composition and Theory, ’11).  More recently, I completed a Master’s in library and information science at the University of Tennessee’s School of Information Sciences, where my studies focused on academic librarianship (specifically related to music and the humanities), archives and records management, and digital curation.  

I have provided information services for a variety of both federal and academic institutions, including the Library of Congress, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the University of Tennessee.  Before coming to NMC, I served as the interim K-12 Instructional Librarian at the University School of Nashville, in Nashville, Tennessee.”

I have very high hopes of attending this year’s ALA meeting in Orlando.  For me, the chance to personally meet you and others involved with the IRRT would be a tremendous opportunity to share and discuss alternative views of information work, connect with some like-minded professionals, and expand and strengthen myriad professional networks in the spirit of simply sharing information and learning / growing together.”

Conference: ALA 2016

5.5.16 –  ALA Annual Conference
June 23-28, 2016: Orlando, FL, USA

Sarah P’s comments: The ALA Conference is always an interesting event. For anyone with international interests, there are several IRRT (International Relations Round Table) and internationally-related programs planned. ALA can be expensive however if you are a member, there are several registration choices including: One Day ($165), Exhibits Only ($65), and Single Session. (To find out specific session costs you will need to go through the registration process). FYI: some of the IRRT sessions are missing which I reported to an IRRT member who has asked for the problem to be corrected. If you have problems you will need to contact

In a following post I am going to talk about the Leading International session which I have been involved in helping organize (Jennifer Nardine is the Coordinator).

Here is the list of internationally focused sessions:

6/24:  8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Internationalizing Your Library: Strategies for All Types of Librarians: Public/School/Academic/National/Government-IRRT Preconference
Mary Givins – Pima County Public Library; John Hickok – California State University Fullerton; Joan Weeks – Library of Congress; Elizabeth Cramer – Appalachian State University

6/24: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
International Perspectives on Academic and Research Libraries Discussion Group

6/24: 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
International Librarians Orientation

6/25: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Borderless Libraries: Pushing Boundaries for Innovation and Leadership-IRRT International Paper Session & Projects

6/25: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Leaning International: Stories from the Field-IRRT International Connections
Elana Grayson – Korea International School, Jeju Campus; Meggan Houlihan – New York University Abu Dhabi ; Joan Petit – Portland State University; Raymond Pun – California State University, Fresno

6/27: 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Collaborating for Sustainable Libraries: Examples from International Developing Economies (ISLD program)
Connie Champlin – Cultural Adventures and Peace Corps/Korea; Pat A. Wand – American University and Peace Corps / Colombia; Janet Lee – Regis University and Peace Corps/Ethiopia; Jane Mirandette – Hester J. Hodgdon Libraries for All Program and San Juan del Sur Biblioteca Movil, Nicaragua/Nicaragua

6/27: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Best Practices of Internationalizing Libraries: Public, School, & Academic-IRRT Chair’s Program

6/27: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
International Librarians Reception


Webinar: Opportunities for LIS Professionals in the Fulbright Program

4.5.16 –  Opportunities for LIS Professionals in the Fulbright Program

Sarah P’s comments:  IRRT (The International Relations Round Table) recently hosted a very interesting and informative webinar about the Fulbright Program, an opportunity for USA citizens. I have more information and resources about the Fulbright Program listed on my Book Resources page (Chapter 8).  Fortunately for those who missed it, the program was recorded and you can listen to it via this link:

Opportunities for LIS Professionals in the Fulbright Program

About the program: An overview of opportunities for LIS professionals in the Fulbright program, including: the application process, getting your workplace on-board with your candidacy and grant, experiences living/working/teaching abroad, and how a Fulbright can enhance your career and studies. This webinar is informal and is not an official webinar sponsored or endorsed by Fulbright, CIES, IIE, or the US State Department.

Co-sponsors of this webinar are the Society of American Archivists’ Stu-dents and New Archives Professionals Roundtable and the International Ar-chival Affairs Roundtable. The speakers will include: (1) Natalie Baur, US Student Researcher; (2) Chris Prom, US Scholar; (3) Richard Sapon-White, US Scholar; (4) Andrea Malone, Fulbright Specialist.