International Relations Round Table (IRRT)

IRRT's objective is to provide a framework for information sharing among librarians, library staff and library supporters interested in international librarianship activities at all types of libraries. The IRRT aims to increase communication among OLA members about international visits, exchanges and programs in which OLA members are involved.

Recent projects and presentations of the OLA IRRT have included:

  • OLA Conference 2023 panel discussion "Rekindling International Opportunities During Challenging Times" Explore international opportunities for librarians as a way to share your knowledge and expertise while learning about library practices in another culture. The International Relations Round Table will present a panel discussion of current and future international exchange possibilities.  Attendees will hear about the Horner Library Staff Exchange Program with Fujian Province, China; Libros for Oregon (Spanish book buying program at the Guadalajara International Book Fair); working abroad as a librarian; and conducting research/working for an American university in a country outside the US.
  • Confucius Institute presentation 2020 "Through the Eyes of Xiamen and Abeokuta: Oregon Librarians in China and Nigeria" Hear guest speakers’ experiences while visiting Xiamen, China and Abeokuta, Nigeria. Elizabeth Moss will present on how Xiamen libraries serve their patrons and how her perspective of library services changed. Michael Boock will share his engagement with Open Access promotion in Abeokuta, Nigeria, and discuss his experiences with Nigerian music, food, and popular culture. Evan Brengle will focus on some highlights of his trip to Xiamen, including local sights and involvement with arts, culture, and food.
  • OLA-WLA Conference 2019 panel discussion "Collaborating Globally to Chart the Unknown" Explore ways to collaborate and learn from librarians in other countries. Hear how one library system recently created an exchange with librarians in Xiamen, China. Learn about the process for establishing the exchange and the benefits gained through their affiliation with Chinese librarians. In addition, a university librarian will discuss his Fulbright Exchange to Bulgaria, where he conducted research and taught a digital access course. The panel presentation is geared for public or academic library staff interested in developing international relationships with librarians across the globe.


The Horner Library Staff Exchange Program

2013 Horner Exchange

Horner Exchange application for 2024 is now closed.


The Horner Library Staff Exchange Project is an exchange of library staff between Fujian Province, China, and Oregon, for the purpose of sharing professional knowledge about library and information science. It was established through a generous gift by the late Dr. Layton Horner to the State Library of Oregon and continues through a relationship with the Oregon Library Association International Relations Round Table. Our international partners are the Fujian Provincial Library and the Fujian Library Association. Fujian is Oregon's sister province in China, and the Fujian Provincial Library maintains a sister library relationship with the State Library of Oregon.

The next Exchange will take place in 2024. In late spring of 2024, the Fujian Provincial Library will send four delegates to spend two weeks in Oregon. In late October or early November, the State Library of Oregon will send three delegates to China for two weeks. At least one delegate in each group must be fluent enough in Mandarin or Minnan dialects and in English to act as translator.

For the Oregon delegates the Horner Fund will pay partial travel costs from Portland to Fuzhou. The Fujian Provincial Library will provide housing, food, and ground transportation during the Exchange. Individual delegates are responsible for a portion of the airfare, medical insurance and expenses, costs of passport and visas, personal expenses, and souvenirs.

This is a professional business trip. Delegates are expected to work while in China. There are planned tours to Chinese libraries, providing opportunities to observe their practices, providing consultation and presentations, and sharing professional expertise. Most years delegates attend the annual conference of the Fujian Society of Libraries for one day along with Provincial Library staff. There will also be opportunities for sightseeing and cultural activities with the Chinese hosts during the Exchange. These opportunities will be scheduled by our Chinese hosts and vary with each Exchange. Delegates may choose to extend their travel time (before or after the Exchange), at their own expense, for solo sightseeing or with family or friends. However, family or friends may not accompany the delegate during the Exchange. 

 Applicants for the Horner Exchange program must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Be a current member of or be willing to join the Oregon Library Association and its International Relations Round Table.
  • Have permission from your employer for the leave time required to participate in the exchange.
  • Have a demonstrated interest in, and involvement with, international librarianship and/or cultural exchanges.
  • Be employed by a library or library-related institution in Oregon. The interpreter may be a librarian who works or worked (if retired) in Oregon or Washington State.
  • Have, or be able to obtain, a valid passport which will not expire before mid-2025. 
  • Be able to obtain a travel visa to China at the traveler’s own expense.
  • Commit to active involvement with the planning and hosting of the 2024 visit of the Fujian delegates to Oregon. 
  • Be willing and able to share experiences with the library community at an OLA or IRRT program. 
  • Be willing to present on library-related topics to colleagues in Fujian. 
  • Be willing to document and share experiences during the trip through a blog or other social media. 
  • Be in good health. There is a lot of walking and stair climbing.
  • Be able to commit to a two-week trip to Fujian, probably in late October or early  November 2024. Some flexibility may be needed in case of complications in paperwork.
  • Pay a participant fee of $600 and understand that reimbursement for round trip airfare (between Fuzhou and Portland) is provided up to $1200. 

Preference may be given to candidates who meet the following criteria:

  • While Chinese language proficiency is not required, it may be considered in making the final selection as the OLA IRRT is committed to including one person in each Exchange who can speak Mandarin or Minnan dialect well enough to act as translator.
  • The final selection of Exchange participants will represent a diverse set of skills to fill the stated needs of the Fujian Library Association. An MLS degree may be preferred, but not required.

Timeline for selection

  • 12/1/2023  Call for applications 
  • 1/16/2024 Deadline for receiving applications. 
  • 1/16-1/30/2024 Review applications, check references, screen interpreter's skill 
  • 1/31/2024 Contact delegates, confirm participation
  • 2/5/2024 Announce delegate selection
  • 2/13/2024 Delegates join scheduled IRRT Zoom Meeting at 4 pm 

Some notes based on the past Exchanges which may help you in your application decision:

  • Lodging will most likely involve individual hotel rooms for each delegate. Breakfast is usually provided at the hotel.
  • Days are very full with scheduled activities for the delegates – 14 hour days are  the norm, including weekends. Weekends were mostly filled with sightseeing, but were still full days. Translators are always ‘on’ and should have boundless energy.
  • This is a very active trip with long days full of walking, uneven pavement, and climbing stairs.
  • Meals are taken communally and range from semi-formal to very formal.
  • Fujian is a seacoast province and the diet reflects this; you will be treated to many local delicacies, with an emphasis on fish and shellfish
  • Internet access is restricted. More information here.
  • For more information see the Horner Exchange 2010, 2013 and 2016 blogs.

Horner Exchange 2024 Application Link

[email protected]



2016 Horner Exchange



Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Horner Exchange at the link below. Thank you!

Horner Exchange Donations

Report and Pictures of Fujian Librarians Visit May 12 - 24, 2024




2023/2024 IRRT Officers

  • Laura Axon, Chair, Creative Science School Library
  • Erin Bell, Co-Chair/Secretary, Adult Services Outreach Librarian, Cedar Mill Community Library

2022/2023 IRRT Officers

  • Jian Wang, Chair, Portland State University
  • Laura Axon, Co-Chair/Secretary, Creative Science School Library

2020/2021 IRRT Officers

  • Jian Wang, Chair/Secretary, Portland State University
  • Bruce Flath, Co-Chair/Treasurer, Mount Angel Library
  • Linda Campillo, Past Chair, retired teacher-librarian Portland Public Schools


 Annual Meeting minutes:

Horner Exchange 2016 Blog (external site)
Horner Exchange 2013 Blog
(external site)

Horner Exchange 2010 Blog (external site)

People to People Programs - partners with ALA (external site)