Charting New Waters: Rethinking Our Organizational Identities and Functions

SALALM 61, Panel 5, May 11, 2016, 2:00pm- 3:30pm
Moderator: Cate Kellett, Yale Law School
Rapporteur: David Woken, University of Oregon

Sean Knowlton (Tulane University) and Socrates Silva (Columbia University and Cornell University) “Building Collective Capacity: 2CUL as a Case Study”:

Socrates: This from a chapter they co-wrote for the book Collecting Latin America, would like our feedback as the chapter goes through the editing process. In May 2012 Columbia University Library and Cornell University Library (both are “CUL,” and so are referred to as 2CUL) decided to pool resources in a shared Latin American and Iberian Studies position based at Columbia. Sean was the first, and Socrates was the second. The goal was to reduce duplication in low-use Latin American Studies materials and to increase depth and breadth of global scholarly resources. This presentation provides the background, the means of collaboration established, the assessment Sean did, and address the challenges of doing liaison work at two institutions. The position grew out of “post-recession efficiencies” where hundreds of people at Cornell (including David Block) shepherded into early retirement. The 2CUL MOU has a librarian employed physically at Columbia and liaising at Cornell (only there maybe once/year). Collections share common missions and a collaborative process (something of a radical version of resource sharing). Though the two different budget lines are managed very differently at different institutions, the money saved by avoiding duplication have allowed funds to go to new initiatives including graphic novel approval plans, Catalan monographs, Portuguese monographs, non-Hispanic Caribbean materials, and funds for the Borrow Direct cooperative collection development agreement for Brazil. Some duplication still occurs (major print and digital reference works, U.S. and British university press publications, established authors, requests for duplicates from patrons (both for good PR and because request shows a concrete need from patrons), and e-resources (because of restrictions on borrowing among institutions)).

Sean: The 2CUL collection development agreement combines two distinct research collections. The 2CUL collects from 21 Latin American countries (including Puerto Rico). Columbia is strong in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, Central America, the Southern Cone, and Spain, while Cornell’s strength is the Andes (principally Peru and Bolivia). Both collections invest in Mexico and Brazil and are strong on the social sciences. Columbia has invested more in fine arts and architecture, while Cornell has a strong interest in labor issues. Both are strong on economic development, history, literature, science, and anthropology. The 2CUL collaboration relies on firm orders and approval plans, with the vast majority coming from detailed APs with about 15 vendors. The 2CUL collaboration meant they had to harmonize and sign up vendors to work with de-duplication and refocus collection specialties, identifying how to reduce duplication (no more than 10%) and address specialties. Sean looked at the ten years prior to 2CUL formation to understand recent patterns, initially with Cornell’s Colombia collections and realized that it was too time-intensive to do with every country. Therefore they turned to working with WorldCat’s expert search feature through FirstSearch (despite drawbacks to WorldCat like new titles not necessarily appearing and time it takes for materials to arrive). Sean then displayed a chart showing duplication in the collections of materials from Latin America published in 2000-2011. They found that on average 39% of titles in the seven top collected countries are duplicated. In Mexico they found that Columbia and Cornell duplicated 36% of their collections, while 46% of imprints were held in common, which amounted to about $20,000 per year in expenditures on duplicate collections. Overall the countries with the highest rates of duplication were Venezuela (54%), Uruguay (50%), Brazil, Chile (40%), and Mexico. Duplication dropped drastically 2012-2015 (the first three years of 2CUL). Brazil went from 46% to 3% duplication, and all savings were reinvested into building a richer and more diverse Brazil collection. Mexican duplications fell from 36% to 11%. On average duplication fell 24%, with only 12% of materials published 2012-2015 duplicated. Budgets stayed the same so they get more with the same money. In the Andean countries they saw that Cornell has significant distinct collections in Peru and Bolivia, but still overlapped by 36%. With 2CUL they saw a 50% reduction in duplicate Andean titles.  The reallocation of resources has increased “bibliodiversity” at both institutions and allowed resources to be dedicated to new collecting areas.

Socrates: Their chapter focuses on collection development questions but they recognize that people have other questions about reference, liaison interactions, instruction, and other duties of research librarians. The 2CUL librarian at Columbia visits Cornell a couple of times a year for a two nights each time. They schedule as many faculty office visits as possible and organize meetings with Latin American Studies faculty. They must also spend time with Cornell library staff as well so they know to refer advanced questions to 2CUL. 2CUL does not have benchmarks or ways to measure how this has effected liaison services at Cornell like they do with collection development, and no real qualitative ways to measure what this means. He finds that with the amount of work needed for collection development he has a hard time meeting “value added library liaison service” obligations for graduate students and faculty. Other additional projects (exhibits and curatorial projects, work on archival collections, etc., which require long-term project management) get lost in the shuffle when not on site. He does worry that excellent Andean collections at Cornell might be neglected without a liaison on campus. Increasingly e-books (not a huge concern in Latin American Studies quite yet) will require some work negotiating access contracts to borrow across institutions (2CUL designed for print, so far). Space planning is also a concern (ReCAP, shared storage with Princeton and New York Public Library is facing space limits). They might reach out to reduce duplication of low-use materials across an even larger set of institutions, which makes the work that much more complicated. It is still early to fully assess 2CUL’s long-term impacts, but it has greatly increased the diversity of materials that they have been acquiring.

Zoe Jarocki (San Diego State University) “Beyond Borders – Cross-Border Library Collaborations”:

This talk is about the Creando Enlaces conference in Southern California, and the broader conditions in San Diego and Baja California libraries. She hopes to get more SALALMistas to come (Adán Griego (Stanford) has participated before). Creando Enlaces is an IMLS-grant-funded conference that seeks to build links between librarians in Baja California and the U.S. It is fully bilingual (with simultaneous translation) and free to attend, with volunteer public librarians and some academic librarian organizing it (including many members of REFORMA). The U.S. participants are mostly public librarians, while the Mexican librarians are mostly academic. There is a long history in San Diego of cross-border collaboration (Foros Transfronterizos, sister library arrangements, and international exchanges) from which Creando Enlaces grew. The attendance is predominantly U.S. librarians, though a good number are from Mexico. They had a big jump in attendance in 2014 as the new downtown San Diego library opened and the conference followed the themes of “technology” and “early learning.” In 2015 they had a big boost because Creando Enlaces coincided with the national REFORMA conference in San Diego, so Creando Enlaces was more of a 1-day pre-conference around the theme of outreach to underserved communities. In 2016 they saw a big growth in Mexican attendance because one day was in the U.S. and one in Mexico, around the theme of collaboration and technology. The conference coincides with some support for viewing San Diego and Tijuana as one region in the Mayor’s Binational Collaboration, efforts to revamp the port of entry (the busiest border crossing in the world), and the development of the Cross Border Xpress privately run walking bridge across the border to the Tijuana airport. San Diego State University (SDSU) and Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) are collaborating (the SDSU Center for Latin American Studies has a program where students can take COLEF classes during the regular semester at normal tuition without needing to do a study abroad). They have gotten strong response to the conference which has helped to spawn binational projects including a One Book Sin Fronteras program  where San Diego’s one book program expanded to Tijuana as well, picking a book originally published in Spanish that had been translated to English to read in both cities. They are also working on other cultural programs between San Diego and Tijuana public libraries. The lessons learned are that they need time to build networks and do follow-up. Food helps to get people to respond, but is stressful to plan, useful to change things up and learn from experience, and to recognize that translation is expensive and complicated but invaluable for the many monolingual librarians who will be involved. They would like SALALMistas to come this year, which has the theme “Creating the Future, Archiving the Past.”

Jenny Lizarraga (CEO, Cinco Books) “Refugiados Invisibles – Niños centroamericanos. The Children in Crisis Project”:

Talking about the “Children in Crisis Project/Refugiados Invisibles,” a program sponsored by REFORMA. This presentation will cover who are the children, where they are from, why they are coming to the U.S., and a map of where they are coming in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. They received a $10,000 grant for this project at the 2015 American Library Association meeting in San Francisco, presented during REFORMA’s meeting. August 24, 2015 they visited the Rio Grande Valley (Brownsville specifically) to see child immigrants’ conditions first-hand. The Government Accountability Office said that 56,000 children were detained in 2013 and 2014, and another 26,000 arrived in 2014 and 2015. Since 2009 186,233 children under 18 have been held by U.S. authorities, and of these 10% are under 10 and 13% under 14, with at least 30% of them being girls, who are especially vulnerable to kidnapping, rape, and other forms of violence. They come from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Parents pay coyotes to bring them to the U.S. for a better life and to find asylum. These Central American countries are recognized to be among the most dangerous countries in the world. Children come seeking refugee status from gang violence. Some have families in the U.S., but those families often are undocumented and afraid to come pick up the kids at a shelter and often lack the funds to come pick the kids up, so the kids are in limbo at the shelters. Honduras’s murder rate of 90.4/100,000 people (highest in the world, double that of the next highest), El Salvador’s rate is 41.2/100,000 (4th highest), and Guatemala is the 5th highest (39.9/100,000). At least 18% of children arriving from Guatemala only speak Mayan languages (no English or Spanish). These children come in through Brownsville, passing through Matamoros (which is very dangerous). They know to turn themselves in to ICE because that is relatively safe, but ICE can only hold them 24-48 hours so they end up in shelters. They cross Mexico by various means, including “La Bestia” train, buses, cars, etc. All are dangerous. Coyotes (human traffickers) often abandon children short of the U.S. so they can pass through to the U.S., though if they turn 18 while in a shelter they will be treated as criminals and deported. Border patrol often release the children to Catholic charities. The project gives books to shelters, but the refugees often do not understand free libraries as a concept. When captured parents will be fitted with trackers until they go to court, and must prove are under a direct threat (which is often very difficult to prove) to receive asylum, otherwise they will be deported. Discuss images of Catholic Charity facilities, a REFORMA table of books. The ProBar organization of pro bono lawyers in south Texas helps refugee kids, but are not active throughout the whole country. Southwest Key Nueva Esperanza youth shelter in Brownsville, for 10-17 year-old kids, allows refugees to stay 1-2 months as they try to find a family (the organization is careful about this because human traffickers might try to defraud SW Key to kidnap kids). SW Key has programs across the U.S. We are now working to get grants for the REFORMA Children in Crisis Project, look for sponsors, donations, and to raise awareness (at the USBBY meeting in New York (2015), the Guadalajara FIL, USBBY-ALSC at midwinter, the Texas Library Association, SALALM, and at the ALA meeting in Orlando this year). They are looking for promotores to champion their cause in public. They will also create a “library card” of information for refugee student to distribute in public libraries in the refugees’ destination cities. They want a welcoming community, support from librarians, books for every child coming through the border, library cards for every refugee child, and a fair hearing for all of the kids. You can donate by googling the project or hitting the websites of REFORMA, the Children in Crisis Project, or USBBY.

Cate Kellett: Now we have time for questions from the audience.

Luisa Escobar Galo, CIRMA: ¿Ustedes han trabajado con los niños para hacer estudios etnográficos o recopilar datos sobre ellos porque es información muy importante pero no hay bibliografía? Jenny: Tenemos información de los niños pero no tenemos algo completo porque no hay nadie recopilando todo, entonces el título “Niños Invisibles.” Hay información sobre los refugiados de zonas de guerra más lejanas como en África pero no hay esta información sobre los refugiados de nuestros vecinos.

Adán Griego, Stanford: Este no es algo nuevo, hemos visto in los archivos otras olas de niños refugiados, encontré un reporte de los años 1992-1994 sobre niños refugiados. Podemos buscar lo que han hecho en el pasado por estos tipos de asuntos. Jenny: En el pasado los refugiados se fugieron de la guerra, ahora está a causa del crimen.

Ruby Gutierrez, HAPI/UCLA: On 2CUL, has there been feedback from faculty and graduate students at Cornell about service there? Sean: When I started folks were already accustomed to having no support since David Block’s retirement, when I held a meeting right after I started only one faculty member attended with a group of graduate students. They have a Spanish-speaking reference librarian who handles most questions, while intensive consultation with graduate students comes mostly via email. Socrates: I make efforts to email graduate student lists, did meet with an undergraduate the last time he was there who was from El Salvador and had brought up to librarians how he had no reference librarian who could help him with his thesis. This seems likely to be a perpetual problem, I hope colleagues at Cornell will refer students to me.

Ruby Gutierrez, HAPI/UCLA: For Zoe, at Creando you get public librarians from the San Diego area and academic librarians from Mexico (mostly Baja California) with themes for the conference, but these two types of libraries have different patrons and concerns, where do they meet and come together? Zoe: People speak from their point of view, so there is some cross-communication, which part of why I want more U.S. academic librarians there. Some exciting overlap occurs on questions of the one-book program, fostering literacy and a shared community of readers, and voicing shared ebook concerns. Adán Griego, Stanford: Having attended, there is some mix of different interests, but there are also lots of overlap on questions of outreach, advocacy, and fundraising. I have seen some of the LIS students there respond well because they never understood that Latin American studies librarianship is a thing. Zoe: We can learn a lot about active outreach from the public library world, and about defining and measuring outcomes in different ways by talking with public.

Laurie Bridges, Oregon State University: To Zoe, you mentioned sister library organizations, please write about that if you have done that because there is almost no lit on academic sister library programs.

Debra McKern, Library of Congress-Rio: To Socrates and Sean, have you thought of expanding 2CUL beyond the two schools? Socrates: It has expanded in many ways, getting MOUs and collaborative agreements with other Ivies, and have a project for collected e and print versions of titles.

Nelson Santana, Rutgers University: To Jenny, I appreciate your work because you are giving voice to the voiceless, I think of a research project at UCLA on incarceration, and wonder if we have official information/data on this phenomenon (especially on U.S. and Mexican collaboration), what sources we have to discuss or study this phenomenon.

Cate: One more question? [SILENCE] Okay, join me in thanking this panel.


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