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From Trash to Treasure: Introducing the libros cartoneros from Latin America and Spain, A Multimedia Exhibition


Since emerging in Argentina in 2003, libros cartoneros have flourished throughout Latin America and Spain.  Bound in recycled cardboard, these distinctive handmade books are published by small independent presses with noble aspirations: to promote writing and make literature more accessible to the people.

The exhibition features a selection of the nearly 500 cardboard books from 22 publishers collected by the Indiana University Libraries.  The Latin American Studies collection holds one of the strongest library collections of these unique artifacts in North America.  The physical exhibition is arranged into eight displays, covering topics as diverse as emerging writers, social issues, children’s literature, and rediscovered works of literature.  Posters provide more information about the small independent cartonera publishers, their origins, their publishing philosophy, the innovative activities they use to disseminate their works, and the growing international recognition they are attaining as a valuable social and cultural initiative.  A digital companion exhibition can be seen on the new visualization screen (IQ-Wall) adjacent to the main exhibition area.  Finally, a poster exhibition further complements the displays in the lobby of the Wells Library.

The co-curators of this exhibition are Denise Stuempfle, Cataloger of Latin American Studies, and myself, Luis A. González, Librarian for Latin American Studies at Indiana University.

Interested visitors will also have the opportunity to make their own libros cartoneros in a workshop led by Jim Canary, Head Conservator of the Lilly library.  The accompanying workshop will take place at the Indiana University Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts (Room 221) on Friday, October 26 from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. For more information about the workshop, please contact Denise Stuempfle at dstuempf@indiana.edu.

The exhibition “From Trash to Treasure” will be on display on the main floor of the East Tower of the Herman B Wells Library through November 9, 2012. Check us out in Facebook.

Luis A. González, Ph.D.
Indiana University

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