Indiana State University Newsroom

Visit begins bond between Cunningham Library and Moroccan university

July 30, 2010

A bond between Indiana State University and the University of Hassan II grew stronger by another strand with a visit by the Moroccan university library officials to ISU's Cunningham Memorial Library.

"Hassan II University has several colleges spread out to several cities," said Karim Bejjit, head librarian of the Faculty of Humanities Ben M'sik and associate professor of English. "It's not like the colleges here on one campus. We are quite separate."

Each college also has a separate library dedicated to it.

"We realized we needed some adjustment there," Bejjit said.

That decision to change University of Hassan II's library system brought Bejjit along with Majid Bouziane and Mimoun Zazoui to Indiana State to learn about the workings of a larger library. Eventually, Hassan II will have three libraries to serve its faculty and students in the different cities.

"We're interested in observing how a large university library operates," Bejjit said.

During their 10-day stay, the three will have spent time with every department in the library working with and learning from the staff from archives to interlibrary loan to cataloging.

"We're impressed by the variety of services here besides checking out books," said Bouziane, associate professor in education and in charge of international cooperation at the university in Casablanca. "Here you have events, checking out DVDs and CD books. That is something we have learned that we would like to implement."

In those ways, Indiana State reaches out to the community and Bouziane said that is something they would like to do in Morocco.

"Serving the community is one of the library's many strengths," Bejjit added.

Zazoui, assistant dean of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology, said implementing an interlibrary loan system would aid the libraries in Morocco as each library would not have to have the same books.

"We could have one book for the campuses," he said.

"We would love to have it nationwide, but at least we can have it between our three campuses," Bouziane said. "It will have a big impact on the way our libraries operate."

Alberta Comer, Indiana State library dean, said she and her staff also are learning from the Moroccans.

"They came to learn from us but we're finding we have a lot to learn from them," she said. "Their passion for libraries and teaching, their passion makes us remember why we got into this."

The Moroccan delegation and Comer said they hope that this visit is only the beginning of a relationship between the two universities libraries and only further strengthens the two universities relationships, which began in 2001.

"We hope to have some future endeavors together that are yet to be determined," Comer said. "The world is a small place. It's important to know what's going on in libraries in the world."

"We have been interested in such a project for a long time to boost understanding and clarify misconceptions on both sides," Bouziane said.

Especially since both countries have been on the same side for centuries.

"Morocco and the U.S. are on totally different continents but we have so much in common," Bejjit said. "Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States. A decade later the two countries signed a treaty that is one of the longest, unbroken treaties in the world."

In addition to learning about Cunningham Memorial Library, Zazoui, Bejjit and Bouziane also shared meals with faculty discussing potential partnerships. They attended dinner with Provost Jack Maynard and other administrators. They attended a Terre Haute Rex baseball game, visited library faculty homes, and ate lunch with Moroccan students attending Indiana State.

"There are great ideas we learned here. We will keep you informed," Bejjit said to Comer. "We will set up tasks for different professors and administrators. We hope that this visit is only the beginning."

Photo: - Librarians from Hassan II University in Morocco visited Indiana State University to learn about the workings of a larger university library and discuss possible partnerships. Pictured are (left to right) Mimoun Zazoui, assistant dean, Faculty of Sciences and Technology; Alberta Comer, dean, ISU's Cunningham Memorial Library; Majid Bouziane, associate professor of education; Dara Middleton, event coordinator at Cunningham Library; and Karim Bejjit, head librarian and associate professor of English at Hassan II.

Contact: Alberta Comer, Indiana State University, Cunningham Memorial Library dean, at 812-237-2649 or

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or