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First Presidential Message – SALALM LXI

Dear colleagues,

Several months have passed since our 60th annual conference in Princeton in which our Past President Luis González and Fernando Rodríguez, chair of local arrangements, alongside Hortensia Calvo, our Executive Director organized a wonderful conference to celebrate this landmark anniversary. The academic program for SALALM LX showed, once more, the strong national and international ties that we have been building and the multifaceted work that we do as library specialists.

Our next conference has been taking shape over these months. The conference theme is out and, as the theme mentions, for 2016 there will be some slight changes in our program in order to accommodate the round tables that will take place during the first two days. Out of the total number of committee, subcommittee, interest, and affiliated group work meetings, thirteen will meet via GoToMeeting prior to our conference in May and will report at the Executive Committee meetings held during the conference. The remaining committees and interest groups will meet, as usual, during the conference days. I want to thank all committee chairs and other SALALM colleagues that have accepted this one-time-only situation in order to support and free up time to hold the round tables during the regular days of our conference.

It is my pleasure to announce that Dr. Charles Hale, Director of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) at The University of Texas at Austin since 2009, has kindly accepted the invitation to be our keynote speaker. Dr. Hale’s article on “The Future of Latin American Studies” (Americas Quarterly, 2014) is one of the texts that inspired me for the SALALM conference theme. In addition, he will bring a unique perspective to our conference as the director of a Latin American Studies institute which includes the Benson Collection, one of the largest and most comprehensive library collections on the area. Among his achievements as director of LLILAS, he facilitated the merging of LLILAS and the Benson Collection. Dr. Hale’s critical insight on the transformation of area studies will be key to the discussions that will take place during the round tables.

I strongly believe that collaborative work and dialogue with others fosters a more creative environment. For that reason, I have put together a committee of SALALM colleagues that are helping me with the creation of these round tables: Luis González from Indiana University, Alison Hicks from University of Colorado-Boulder, and Miguel Valladares from the University of Virginia. We started working over a month ago. As soon as the preparation is done, we will upload all the details to the conference website.

The calls for submissions to our travel grant Enlace (deadline Feb. 13, 2016), our SALALM scholarship (deadline March 15, 2016), and the recently created Dan Hazen Fellowship (deadline Dec 15, 2015) have been updated in our website. The review committees are all looking forward to receiving many applications!

I would like to call your attention on the Dan Hazen Fellowship, which was created this fall to honor the memory of one of SALALM’s strongest leaders. Dan always stressed the importance of in-depth knowledge and continuous professional development of subject specialists in order to build stronger collections and provide the highest quality of service. With this in mind, the goal of this fellowship is to strengthen our junior, mid and senior status members through the award of partial financial support for either scholarly research or professional development. The Fellowship Review Committee will evaluate each submission and awards will be announced February 1, 2016. Thanks to the recently formed committee that has been working diligently to have this new fellowship in place this semester, especially to Peter Johnson, its chair.

Miguel Valladares, the chair of local arrangements, has been working very hard towards our next conference. He will soon be adding details for lodging, registration to the SALALM conference website, as well as other pertinent information related to the University of Virginia and Charlottesville.

As I mentioned in the email in which I shared the conference theme, SALALM is the main reason that I decided to become a librarian twelve years ago. Its collegiality is energizing and a pillar of my professional life. As I prepare this conference, you, my colleagues, confirm over and over that I made the best decision. My deepest appreciation to you all for your support!

I am glad to report that, within the first week of the announcement of the conference theme, I received the first proposals for presentations. Keep them coming!

Stay tuned for several announcements that will come in the following weeks.

Happy Thanksgiving for those of you in the U.S. and safe and fulfilling travels for those of you attending the Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara!

Warm regards,
Paloma

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