Kindle Early Language Learning in Sudan Recipient of a RUSA 2023 Best Emerging Technology Application Award

Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has announced Janet Lee (ILCE-IG member) and Tegest Hailu, M.D. are the recipients of one of two 2023 ETS Best Emerging Technology Application Awards for the Kindle Early Language Learning project for serving children in the Hasheba Refugee Camp in Sudan.  The $3,000 Best Emerging Technology Application (BETA) Award is sponsored by Chatstaff and LibraryH3lp.

For applying existing technologies in novel ways that benefit the library and patrons. Kindle Early Language Learning is an innovative way of replicating the library and its resources for children living in difficult conditions in Sudan’s Hasheba Refugee Camp, helping them learn reading, writing, and languages in engaging ways. – Award Committee Statement

The Kindle Early Language Learning Project in Hasheba Refugee Camp in Sudan introduces first language resources to refugee school children in a joint library/classroom through the use of Kindle technology. The children, many of whom are orphans, fled from the Tigray region of Ethiopia, when conflict broke out in November 2020 forcing them into exile in Sudan.  As basic housing and health services were implemented in the camps, housing over 60,000 refugees, it became apparent that the children needed educational resources and a sense of normalcy that a school would provide. An agreement was made among the refugees, NGOs and the Sudanese government to share classroom space with existing Sudanese students.  Among the refugees were Ethiopian-certified teachers, taking up the charge of teaching the students.  Since resources such as books and supplies are scarce, printing costs prohibitive, and shipping expensive, the project introduced the use of specially configured Kindle devices that were loaded with storybooks and first language reading aids in the languages of Tigrinya, Amharic, and Arabic. The Kindle device is ideal because it can hold hundreds of book titles in a variety of formats, is easy to hold, emulates a print book, and can handle the script of Tigrinya, Amharic, and Arabic.  Since the storybooks are downloaded, access to the books is available offline. In a remote area of the world such as in the refugee camps in Sudan, with little access to Internet and few print resources, the Kindle Early Language Learning Project provides needed resources in an attractive and affordable way.

Janet Lee will be presenting with other awardees at the 2023 RUSA ETS Technology Showcase at the American Library Association Monday, June 26th, from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM.

The BETA selection committee was Chaired by Beth Caruso.

See announcement:

Janet Lee
Janet Lee
Tegest Hailu, M.D.
Tegest Hailu, M.D.

BETTER TOGETHER: The Power of Global Library Connections

Sponsored by the Colorado Association of Libraries and the Colorado School of Mines

Have you ever wanted an international partner for your library?  Have you ever wanted to work overseas? 

The International Library and Cultural Exchange Interest Group of the Colorado Association of Libraries and the Arthur Lakes Library of the Colorado School of Mines are sponsoring a uniquely formatted two-day international conference, Better Together: The Power of Global Library Connections 

Day 1 of the conference, March 6 is only online via zoom. Day 2 of the conference, March 7 is only in person in Golden, Colorado.  Each conference agenda is different.  Registration is separate for each day.  See each day’s registration link below.

Monday, March 6, 8:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. MST (3:00 p.m. -7:45 p.m. GMT)  

Dr. Jesús Lau

The free online conference will feature speakers worldwide.  Highlights:

  • Dr. Jesús Lau, Professor at Universidad Veracruzana and Co-Chair of UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Alliance, on the value of international cooperation among libraries. 
  • A panel of librarians from China and the Colorado School of Mines will discuss their successful STEM project. 
  • Librarians from Park City, Utah, discuss their partnership with Bimal Library in Dharan, Nepal.
  • A representative from the Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan, will describe partnerships with multiple international universities and how the library was involved.
  • Representatives from Sister Cities International and the ALA, International Relations Round Table Sister Libraries Committee will discuss successful partnerships. 

Captioning in English will be provided.   A tip sheet will be made available to all participants.  Participation in the conference is free.  Questions:  Carol Smith at

Click below to register for March 6 online webinar

Tuesday, March 7, 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. MST

This in-person conference will be held at the Colorado School of Mines, .  Highlights include:

  • Dr. Jesús Lau, Professor at Universidad Veracruzana and Co-Chair of UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Alliance speaking on the value of international cooperation among libraries 
  • Sherri Baca from Pueblo City-County Library and Victor Zuniga from  Poudre River Public Library District discussing their partner library experiences
  • Gayle Stallings, Sister Cities International State Representative for Colorado
  • Brianna Buljung and Janet Lee, both US Fulbright Scholars on their experiences in Taiwan and Ethiopia
  • Jamie LaRue on the value of international partnerships and his experience in Bulgaria.

The Registration Fee includes breakfast snacks, lunch, free parking, and a concluding reception in the Colorado School of Mines Museum of Earth Science.   A tip sheet will be made available to all participants. 

Click below to register for the March 7, in-person, International Library Conference.

Questions:  contact Nancy Bolt at

Supplemental Links:


Speaker Biographies


CAL and ILCE-IG will sponsor a Library Tour to Nicaragua Nov. 10-18, 2022

Please join members of the International Library and Cultural Exchange as we visit libraries, cultural centers, and natural sites and participate in local library events in beautiful Nicaragua.

San Juan del Sur Biblioteca

Local arrangements will be made by Jane Mirandette, Founder of the Hester J. Hodgdon Libraries for All Program, a Colorado-based nonprofit. Jane is the Director of the San Juan del Sur Biblioteca in San Juan del Sur, a beautiful coastal town.

Join us to:

Tour various cultural sites in Nicaragua including Masaya Volcano and its Natural History museum; the 16th century city of Granada, with its cathedrals and the Museo San Francisco with its large collection of pre-Columbian statues.

Volunteer and travel with the San Juan del Sur Biblioteca Movil on its regular route to rural schools and participate in the lending process.

Celebrate the 21st anniversary of the SJDS Biblioteca, the highlight event of the year, with a library festival and street fair for over 500 children, events for Nicaraguan librarians and teachers, and an evening Gala event.

Storytime at the anniversary celebration.

Click on More Information Link for costs, itinerary and registration form.

Shannon Brennan Selected for CAL Leadership Institute

Congratulations to Shannon Brennan, Children’s Librarian at the Bemis Public Library, and a valued member of the ILCE-IG steering committee for being selected to the 2022 CAL Leadership Institute (CALLI).

The goals of the CAL Leadership Institute are to develop leaders within CAL and the Colorado library community by:

  1. Allowing an exploration and understanding of personal leadership styles.
  2. Developing key relationships among participants, presenters, and the larger library community through inquiry (listening and understanding others), advocacy (learning about issues and taking a stand), and networking (building collaborative networks and creating coalitions for change).
  3. Providing the necessary professional development opportunities to grow leaders at all levels of library organizations.

Shannon writes, “Being on the steering committee for ILCE is very helpful so I’m glad to be a part of the group!” 

ILCE-IG 2022 Grants application open for submission

Culture Fest

ILCE-IG is now accepting grant applications for its international/intercultural grant for 2022. Applications must be submitted by June 1, 2022.

CAL members and libraries within Colorado may apply for grants that support ILCE-IG’s two main goals:

  • International Individual and library partnerships and activities that enhance cultural understanding
  • Colorado Cultural programming and activities that celebrate ethnic and immigrant cultures in Colorado

Two grants, up to $1500  each may be awarded this year.

For further information and the grant application check out the Grants and Awards webpage:

Shannon Brennan named Littleton Employee of the Year 2021

Shannon Brennan, Children’s Librarian at the Bemis Public Library in Littleton and Steering Committee Member of the International Library and Cultural Exchange Interest Group, has been named the 2021 Employee of the Year for the City of Littleton, a most deserved award.  She faced stiff competition for this city-wide award, but as the record of accomplishments attest, her dedication to the community and to library services to children is self-evident. She was recognized for her community outreach work, her promotion of a healthy and caring workplace, and her early literacy work supporting children to be school ready. As a children’s librarian, Shannon’s work with children and their families has a profound impact on a child’s early literacy development and school success.

Recognizing an influx of families with children from birth to five years old frequenting the children’s area of the Bemis Public Library, she increased promotion of children’s services to children and their parents and care givers.  

Shannon’s first initiative was to apply for and receive the Colorado State Library grant “Growing Readers Together,” a program funded by the Buell Foundation and distributed ­­­to multiple libraries and library districts in Colorado.   This award funded two programs: Take Home Story Time Kit and 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Program at Bemis.

Any child who attends story time at Bemis or any child upon request receives a Take Home Story Time Kit that consists of an egg shaker, play scarf, and song/rhyme booklet.  Shannon selected over 20 rhymes, songs, fingerplays that are routinely used during Bemis story times that families can repeat at home using the props provided in the kit. These activities promote early literacy skills that build a foundation for reading and school readiness.

Take home storytime kit

The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten is a nation-wide program that is new to Bemis. Shannon designed a schedule with built-in incentives and used the grant to provide prizes throughout the process of reading 1000 books. This program focuses on children ages birth to kindergarten and encourages parents to read 1,000 books to their child before they start kindergarten. Participants receive a book log and a series of prizes as they progress through their 1,000-book goal. The ability to learn language skills is greatest before the age of six. The most important predictor of school success is being read to at home during early childhood. Since Shannon launched the program at Bemis, over 300 families have signed up to participate.

In addition, it was her desire to expand on the popular StoryWalk®, which displays pages of a picture book in sequential spots to promote reading and walking. Bemis Public Library started one at the Gallup Gardens park, located adjacent to the Bemis Library during Summer 2020. It was so well received during the pandemic that it has continued ever since.

The popularity of StoryWalk® quickly grew, and the Aspen Grove Shopping Center indicated interested in participating with the book pages on display in their store fronts. Shannon brokered a partnership with them in June 2021.   Originally planned for one month, the partnership proved so popular that the shopping center has asked to continue the story walk partnership indefinitely. Each month, Shannon organizes and implements a new children’s story in the shopping center’s windows. Children and their families walk from store to store reading the story together ending at Tattered Cover where they receive a small incentive for reading the book and answering a question about it. Tattered Cover also made a point to order extra copies of each monthly book installment and volunteered to hand out small prizes as incentives for kids reading the book. Aspen Grove expanded the program to include a QR code scan contest for ongoing monthly prizes.

Shannon is also dedicated to the library profession. She has served on the ILCE-IG steering committee for three years and has been instrumental in organizing and scheduling programs at the annual CALCON conferences, marketing the programs, and scheduling speakers. She recently updated the ILCE-IG brochure that serves as a key marketing tool.

She has been selected to participate for a two-year term with the CLEL (Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy) Bell Award Selection Committee.  Each year the committee reads all the 2021 book nominations for the five early literacy practices and selects a book for each category that is best represented: Read, Write, Sing, Play, and Talk. These areas are the foundation to reading and promoted between birth and five years of age.

Testimony of two of the nominators:

“Shannon Brennan is a unique and special part of the Children’s Department at the Library. Shannon especially stands out because of her great attitude and welcoming personality. There is always a smile. She puts her best in everything she does from setting up the walking stories at Aspen Grove to assisting mothers and fathers with materials for their children. More importantly, she plays an incredible role in bringing special programs within the Children’s Department to life for all the children to enjoy. Shannon also adds her talent to the Employee Recognition Committee and the Director’s Council. she is always present and ready to go. Shannon’s devotion and graciousness toward her work demonstrates how essential Shannon’s service is to Bemis Library.”

“Shannon’s thoughtfulness and caring has helped promote a workplace in which staff feel valued and cared for. Shannon is a stellar employee who is always looking for new and creative ways that the library can positively impact the lives of Littleton families and promote a lifelong love of reading and learning.”

Congratulations, Shannon, for this well-deserved honor.

Note: ILCE-IG is an interest group of the Colorado Association of Libraries and is celebrating its tenth year as a committee in 2022.

2021 Annual report published

We are pleased to announce that the 2021 annual report of the International Library and Cultural Exchange Interest Group has been published. Please click on the following link to view this report and all prior reports of the interest group:

Meeting Minutes & Annual Reports

We are very proud of our many accomplishments for this year.

We are also looking forward to a new year. Consider joining our steering committee by contacting one of our steering committee members.

Happy New Year!

Colorado Librarians Featured in International Leads

Jane Mirandette, Nancy Bolt, and Janet Lee

The first of a three-part series on the bestowing of The John Ames Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Award to three Colorado librarians has been published in International Leads (pg. 19).  The series details the achievements of Jane Mirandette, Nancy Bolt, and Janet Lee in their pursuits in international librarianship and the formation of the International Library and Cultural Exchange Interest Group, an interest group of the Colorado Association of Libraries.  The first in the series, “There Must be Something in the Water: Colorado’s Trifecta” highlights Jane Mirandette’s work in Nicaragua with the HJH Libraries for All program. Articles covering the achievements of Nancy Bolt and Janet Lee will follow in subsequent issues of International Leads.

It is a jam-packed issue.  Be sure to take a look and share it with others.


Jane Mirandette, Nancy Bolt, Janet Lee: panelist for the ILCE-IG program “Managing World Crises Including COVID-19: View from Libraries in other Countries

COVID-19 has affected all of us in so many ways, from the way we interacted with each other and with how we served our populations. For some of us it was merely an inconvenience; for others it affected us personally and sometimes tragically.

Libraries became more important than ever as classes became remote and many in the population were working from home. This disruption brought new ways of doing things as we adapted to a new normal. We met over zoom. We depended on technology more than ever. We set up new protocols as we reopened our libraries and changed those protocols daily.

Our speakers gave us a view how libraries in other parts of the world adapted to this changing environment.

The Presentations are embedded in the links below:

Janet Lee Introduction to the program and an overview of ILCE-IG

Nancy Bolt

Jane Mirandette

Janet Lee named the 2021 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) International Relations Committee’s John Ames Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Award

At Adama Science and Technology University

Janet Lee, a board member ILCE-IG since its inception in 2012, has been named the 2021 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) International Relations Committee’s John Ames Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Award, which is presented to a librarian or person who has made significant contributions to international librarianship.

The award, sponsored by OCLC/Forest Press, consists of $1,000 and a plaque was presented virtually (via Zoom) at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois, USA. OCLC/Forest Press donated the cash award.

The ALA Press Release (link following) chronicles her professional achievements, starting with her Peace Corps experience in southern Ethiopia and multiple return visits to set up libraries and conduct workshops.  It includes references to professional organizations such as the Colorado Association of Libraries, the American Library Association, and the International Federation of Libraries and Institutions.  Her accomplishments include serving on numerous committees, delivering multiple presentations, editing several journals and newsletters (both print and electronic), writing more than a few articles, being awarded some small grants, and monitoring related social media.

In her acceptance speech, she acknowledged the great impact that her Peace Corps Ethiopia experience and multiple trips back “home” to Ethiopia had on her.  She dedicated the award to “the students of Axum” where she lived for nearly a year as a Fulbright Scholar.  She intends to use the monetary award for further projects in libraries and literacy in Axum.

Click for full press release