Saturday September 20th 2014

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From the President

The year 2012 ended with the energizing news of Roberto Delgadillo’s winning the “I Love My Librarian Award.” We were also happy with the comforting fact that the world did not end on Friday, Dec. 21st, 2012, after all.  What a wonderful irony! This  eschatological belief of the Mayas has preceded the occurrence of this conference as we are engaged in our pursuit of the nature and role of the indigenous peoples thought and action towards the improvement of the global human condition in the postmodern world.

As the year 2013 started, I have been pleased by the wonderful reception of the 58th Conference among both members and non-members of SALALM. I have received interesting proposals for presentations, panels, workshops and roundtables. Thus, I feel confident that we will have a vibrant and exciting conference.

In the meantime, the challenges of organizing the conference are becoming more evident. One of them is finding resources to facilitate the attendance of diverse groups of participants from Latin American countries. The cost of traveling to Miami to participate in SALALM is often beyond the personal and/or institutional means for many of our Latin American colleagues. As such, we are exploring ways to encourage individual and institutional donations to support the conference.

This year we are going to re-institute the No-Host Thematic/Topical Meals: A SALALM initiative for collegial community-building.  This great idea, suggested by Peter Johnson, will not only allow us to reach new participants but, more importantly, will enable us to share knowledge. This is also a good idea for networking. The abundance of  restaurants near the beautiful Westin Colonnade Hotel at Coral Gables will contribute to making this meal-related initiative very appetizing.

Peter Johnson kindly agreed to write the rationale behind this initiative plus the guidelines for its implementation.  I am cordially inviting all of you to read the information below and seriously consider submitting a proposal to lead a discussion table in a No-Host Meal.

Warm regards to all,

Martha Mantilla
University of Pittsburgh

 

Guidelines for Topical Meals – A SALALM Community-building Initiative

 

One of the most important functions that SALALM provides is that of building personal and institutional networks that form a strong community to meet the challenges involved with assisting scholars and students conducting research on Latin America. SALALM consists of many different types of communities as demonstrated by the work of its various committees, the content of its annual conferences, the hosting of affiliated groups, and the queries posted and resolved on LALA-L. Since its founding in 1956, SALALM has responded to the many changes occurring in Latin America and influencing research, and throughout all these years a critical factor has been the strength of the individual and collective networks formed by individual SALALM members.

SALALM LVIII expects many members to participate, and anticipates welcoming a good number of new members and student members. We hope to facilitate the community building between these two groups by re-instituting the program option of small group discussions around a focused topic during a meal. The centrality of food to community is well known, and so too is discussion and learning; SALALM LVIII proposes to combine both aspects for our conference attendees.

The no-host meal consists of a speaker along with five individuals (who have signed up in advance). The leader selects the restaurant and makes the reservation; those participating meet at the indicated time and place to go together to the restaurant. Each participant is responsible for his/her meal costs, including taxes and tip. Often restaurants automatically add the tip for groups of six or more; the menu will indicate that, as will the final bill. Because many restaurants will not issue individual bills for groups, participants should come prepared with cash.

By limiting the discussion to six people, a more focused and rewarding time is feasible. Participation by Libreros, bibliographers, publishers, catalogers, reference specialists, and scholars in the past made these meals an important additional learning experience, and opportunity to meet new people. Topics included publishing under dictatorships, acquisition of non-traditional publications, buying trips, cataloging rule changes, teaching research skills, new trends in archives, and disaster planning.

If you would like to participate as a leader, please send a title and three – five line description of the topic to President Martha Mantilla martham@pitt.edu.

Discussions may be in English, Portuguese, Spanish or any combination thereof.

  1. Proposals to lead a discussion table should include the following points:
  • Brief title that clearly identifies the subject matter
  • Descriptive text of what the substance is, in 3 – 5 sentences
  • Brief biographical statement referencing qualifications to speak about the topic, in 1 – 3 sentences

2. Proposals can be on any topic germane to the interests of SALALM

3.  Proposals should be sent by e-mail to the President by 1 March for consideration to include in the conference program

4.   Proposals accepted, and discussion leaders notified on or before 15 April

5.   Confirmation of acceptance by the discussion leader sent to the President within 1 week of receiving the notification

6.   President provides the SALALAM Host Institutions with all relevant information to be included in the conference program

Discussion leader’s responsibilities

1.  Prepare a single paragraph descriptive synthesis of the key points

2.  Submit this text to the President and LALA-L, subject line: No-host Meal Discussion: your topic’s title

3.  Check the conference program for your assigned day and time

4.  Select a restaurant from the Host’s list and make a reservation for 6

5.  On the posted sign-up sheets and/or the conference website, note the restaurant name and address

6.  Meet at the sign-up sheet board 15 minutes before the assigned time

7.  Evaluation:  send the President a short e-mail with your assessment

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