Wednesday August 16th 2017

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SALALM Member Readies FIL Newbies Online

Last Wednesday, November 16, ALA’s International Relations Office and SALALM jointly hosted the first ever Feria Internacional del Libro (FIL) Orientation webinar for first-time attendees and FIL Free Pass Program recipients. The webinar was led by SALALM member and Stanford librarian Adan Griego.  The ten-day book fair, which is held in Guadalajara, Mexico, will be celebrating its 25th birthday later this month.

The hour-long webinar was roughly comprised of 40 minutes of presentation and 20 minutes of Q&A.  The session opened with a brief history of FIL and an orientation to the city of Guadalajara.  Then, Griego quickly moved on to describe the kinds of questions book fair attendees need to address before embarking on a book buying trip:  the characteristics of the users they serve, how their libraries handle international purchasing and shipping, which vendors – in the US or Latin America – they intend to use, if any.  Griego explained how sorting out these details ahead of time will prevent headaches later on when attendees are surrounded by thousands of other FIL visitors.  Next, Griego described the state of the publishing industry in Latin America, emphasizing the challenges presented by large media conglomerates and small print runs in order to help illustrate the advantages of physically attending and purchasing books at the book fair.  Finally, the orientation finished with a virtual tour of the convention center and the resources available to librarians visiting from the United States.  After this “tour,” the 44 attendees asked questions – by phone or through chat.

The session was informative but focused, neatly tailored to address the needs of attendees who may have never gone on a book-buying trip before or may not feel comfortable with their command of the Spanish language.  This webinar assuaged these anxieties, and its online format lent the advantage of providing an orientation before attendees arrived to Guadalajara.  Griego also offers an in-person orientation once librarians arrive to Guadalajara, but the online orientation allows librarians to plan and prepare for the conference ahead of time and maximize their trip to its fullest.

The webinar was hosted through iLinc, provided and supported by the ALA’s International Relations office.

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