top of page

Clara M. Chu

Director and Mortenson Distinguished Professor, University of Illinois;

President of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)

Libraries and Information Advancing SDG16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


Information is vital to advance a sustainable world, and libraries and other information institutions and organizations play a critical role in responding to the United Nations 2030 Agenda. Libraries have long served as community anchors and trusted institutions, and as such, are positioned to be catalysts in identifying and solving society’s grand challenges. This talk illustrates how libraries and information organizations are undertaking transformational actions using information to advance Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 to promote peace, justice and strong institutions. These actions include the Libraries for Peace Initiative and its associated projects, libraries working WITH communities in actions of, by and for the community, Information Action Briefs by the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T), among others.

Clara M. Chu began her role as Director and Mortenson Distinguished Professor on June 1, 2015. She brings more than two decades of professional knowledge and experiences to advance the mission of the Mortenson Center in this dual role.

In addition to having published in leading international journals, presented at conferences, trained and taught around the world in English and Spanish, Clara Chu has held successive leadership positions in ethnic, regional, national, and international professional library and information associations. She is President of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T), Co-Chair of the IFLA Building Strong LIS Education Working Group, and past ALA representative on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO. She is serving on the editorial boards of Libri, Library Trends, and International Journal of Information, Diversity, & Inclusion, and co-edits the International Insights Column of College & Research Libraries News. She has been honored for her research, teaching and professional contributions locally and nationally; most recently, she was awarded the 2018 American Library Association’s Beta Phi Mu Award for distinguished service to education for librarianship.

Clara Chu earned her bachelor’s degree (a major in Spanish language and literature and a minor in psychology and French) from the University of British Columbia and her master’s and doctoral degree in library science from the University of Western Ontario. She comes to Illinois from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) where she was a professor and past chair of the Department of Library and Information Studies. She joined UNCG in 2009 after approximately 20 years as a faculty member at the Department of Information Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles. Clara Chu specializes in the social construction of library and information use, practices,and systems that impact access and collective memory in multicultural communities. Her transnational, ethnic minority, and multilingual background provides her a distinctive and critical lens in the social study of information issues to transform professional practice and education internationally.

bottom of page