Since 2012, CEU has been an active partner for higher education reform in Myanmar. As part of its efforts, CEU, with assistance and funding from the Open Society Foundation (OSF), has invited more than 50 researchers and faculty from Myanmar to the university for fellowships. This fall, for the first time, CEU is expanding its hosting activities to include the first Myanmar Librarian Fellows. Coming from the University of Yangon, Mandalay University, and Central Universities Library, the academic librarians will spend three months with CEU Library for a program of professional development, collaboration, and exchange. They will also be joined during their stay by a rotation of three Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) coordinators from Myanmar. The OSF-funded EIFL program improves access to knowledge and electronic resources in developing and transitional economy countries around the world.
After decades of isolation, academic libraries in Myanmar are opening up, giving students and faculty unprecedented access to e-resources and information. Librarians have faced immense challenges in modernizing their libraries, from working with unreliable electricity and internet to teaching information literacy skills to wide audiences across their university communities. The CEU Myanmar Librarian Fellows were chosen for their leadership skills and their motivation to further the improvements already underway.
The Fellows' program got off to a busy start in September. After an initial orientation to the CEU Library, they participated in workshops on writing for the web and conducting user experience research. They also observed several student database trainings by CEU Library staff members, collecting best practices for similar trainings they offer back home. In October, the Fellows began a workshop on course development offered by the Yehuda Elkana Center for Higher Education at CEU. The 6-week course will support them as they develop train-the-trainer sessions to help their fellow Librarians in Myanmar develop more interactive and objectives-focused information literacy trainings for students.
Additionally, through a series of meetings with CEU Library staff, the Fellows are discovering the breadth of CEU Library operations, including how the Library manages its e-resources, licenses, physical space, staff, and communications, as well as how the Library collaborates with other units, departments, and faculty across the university. Their program will also entail further workshops and trainings throughout the fall. Last, but not least, their visit wouldn’t be complete without opportunities for cultural exchange. From the very beginning, the sharing of food, customs, and experiences has flowed in both directions, starting with an exchange of Myanmar delicacies like lephet thoke (green tea salad) for Hungarian favorites like túró rudi and with the enthusiastic sharing of photos of friends, family, and travels.