Currently viewing the tag: "Jesus Alonso-Regalado"

Monday, June 15, 2015 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Moderator: Alison Hicks, University of Colorado, Boulder
Rapporteur: Melissa Gasparotto, Rutgers University

Sara Levinson, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Following the Clues and Getting Help from your Friends: Creating a Catalog Record for an Item Written Almost Entirely in a Language You Don’t Understand

Leif Adelson, Books from Mexico
Reflections on Why There Are So Few Digital Format Academic Titles in Mexico

Jesus Alonso-Regalado, SUNY/Albany
Crowdfunding and Collection Development

Lisa Gardinier, University of Iowa
Conversaciones con fanzineros: Collecting Zines in Latin America

D Ryan Lynch, Knox College
US LIbraries for Beginners: Library Instruction for ESOL students

Jorge Matos, Hostos Community College/CUNY
Latino Librarianship in a Predominately Latino Community College: Thoughts form a New Junior Faculty.

Ana Ramirez Luhrs, Lafayette College
Crossing the Border: Librarians in the Classroom Beyond Information Literacy

David Woken, University of Oregon
Human Rights and Genocide: Leveraging Academic Library Resources to Support Secondary Education

Sara Levinson, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Following the Clues and Getting Help from your Friends: Creating a Catalog
Record for an Item Written Almost Entirely in a Language You Don’t Understand

Building off of last year’s presentation on correcting and enhancing OCLC records, Levinson spoke about collaboration as a solution. In the previous year’s presentation she had used a problematic MARC record for an illustrated story demonstrating that the language was problematic and format was inaccurate. She was pretty sure it was a Mayan language but not sure which one. After returning from that conference, Levinson was contacted by another SALALM member, Ellen Jaramillo, who suggested a possible dialect, Tzotzil Maya, and developed a partial translation of title. Jaramillo found Princeton’s institutional record for the same item which somehow is not in OCLC. It’s also partially in Spanish. In that record, a proper name was mentioned and there was an authority file for him and he turned out to be a Tzotzil religious leader.  Levinson edited the OCLC record and made changes to Princeton’s record, adding a “comics and graphic novels” heading and deleting an old incorrect heading for Huitzil readers. The final takeaway is that OCLC is only as good as the information that member institutions contribute to it and cooperation is key to the process.

Leif Adelson, Books from Mexico
Reflections on Why There Are So Few Digital Format Academic Titles in Mexico

Adelson noted that Mexican academic institutions produce the overwhelming majority of Mexican academic titles. There are independent houses that publish with academic publishing houses, too, but this is a small portion of production (less than 10% estimate by Adelson). There are other potential sources for digital publishing – author self publishing, small publishing outfits, NGOs, etc., but they lack the impetus and wherewithal to intervene in publishing digital monographs. Squeezed between forces, content producers must publish for academic stature while income pressures producers to make their writings available digitally. Also international electronic distributors approach publishers and offer money to publish those products on their format. But presses believe they should distribute publicly funded research for free. All are poorly equipped to conduct a cost benefits analysis. Given that this is a new field, it’s hard to calculate profit potential from free digital publications. Many academic publishers have been shielded from market pressures and don’t know how to transition to profit seeking digital publishing.

Many presses want to distribute in this way but rights management and technical platform considerations make things more complicated; plus, these conversations are slower to get moving in Mexico. Additionally, institutional academic publishers have a long history of non-bottom-line mentality. Generating revenue or being economically stable has not been part of equation.

There are opportunities (e.g., aggressive strategies in digitizing, publishing and publicizing through vendors) that could help alleviate economic pressures. Additionally, the government could issue standards for digital publications or create a national server for these digitized monographs. These things could put Mexico in front of today’s digital academic publishing trends.

Jesus Alonso-Regalado, SUNY/Albany
Crowdfunding and Collection Development

Alonso-Regalado made the distinction between this topic and fundraising for library-generated library projects. His project deals with generating revenue to fund projects outside the library (projects by authors or filmmakers that result in books or videos): the library helping to create items that they then collect. He sees this as a potential for libraries to be co-creators in the production of knowledge. He advocated for crowdfunding for creation of materials as a valid method of collection development, as many of these crowdfunding projects might not happen without library support.

How can librarians do this? Support may be provided via Kickstarter, Indiegogo, USEED. Alonso-Regalado uses same collection development criteria with these projects as he would for other more traditional collection development decisions, such as reading project description, etc. Many times, supporting the crowdfunded project is the only way you can acquire these limited edition items, but any library, large or small, can afford this. However, fund management and structure might be problematic. In Kickstarter you put in chargecard but you don’t pay until the project reaches its goal. But what if that creator never finishes the item/project.? The creator must work that out with funders. You can advocate for these things even if you’re not doing it directly, and have someone else back the project and donate the resulting items.

Alonso-Regalado talked about four projects he had backed in this way.The book Invisible Immigrants Spaniards in the US 1868-1945, and the films Papa Machete, Memories of Guantanamo, and Save our film: la ciudad.

Lisa Gardinier, University of Iowa
Conversaciones con fanzineros: Collecting Zines in Latin America

Gardinier had been collecting zines from Latin America for last 3 years. Zines are generally self-published with intention of being serial, and they are often personal.

The acquisition of zines typically requires an informal method of collecting. For example, attending “La Otra FIL” in Guadalajara, which happens in conjunction with the larger book fair, but at another site. Sometimes zines come to her in Iowa in the form of visiting artists who can either donate their own works or put her in touch with others. Social events can lead to collecting opportunities, and she has had lots of conversations with fanzineros about why she was collecting and the value of exerting effort to build these collections. One of the most important parts of building a collection like this is building relationships, showing creators that people care and that this material is important. The work represents voices that are otherwise unheard and so these materials belong in an academic library. These materials are getting the same treatment as any other acquisition format. Since they’re inexpensive, budget is not much of a problem.

Q&A for first half of the panel
Jade Mischler of Tulane asked Alonso-Regalado how he finds out about these projects. Is he in Kickstarter searching, or does searching elsewhere lead him to Kickstarter? He answered that both were the case.

Daisy Dominguez of City College asked Alonso-Regalado if he had supported a project that was unsuccessful and how did that look to library administrators? He did back a project that ultimately failed but they tried again. His support of these projects was a proof of concept so he used his own money and donated books.

AJ Johnson of UT-Benson asked if Alonso-Regalado had looked into any music projects on Kickstarter. He answered that he hadn’t seen projects for Latin American music. He added that other platforms for crowdsourcing allow you to connect things to development office of the university. If your library doesn’t want to do it, you can try to convince your constituents to do it and donate toward the item.

Miguel Valladares of University of Virginia asked Gardinier if she was collecting zines from Spain? She answered yes, but unintentionaly. They’re very transnational She can find one country’s publications in another. For example Spanish anarchist zines from the late 90s are still floating around Latin America with prices in Pesetas. They get photocopied over and over and redistributed.

David Woken of University of Oregon noted that he had tried crowdfunding and backs a lot personally. People may present themselves well but there may be problems after the fact. For example, one video project on racism that he has personally backed is taking a long time and getting lots of criticism from other documentary makers for failing to secure proper permissions, You don’t know if the product will be made ethically. Alonso-Regalado responded that this is a question of trust and that if they fail it will affect their reputation. He added that he will alert SALALM members if/when he identifies other projects of interest.

D Ryan Lynch, Knox College
US LIbraries for Beginners: Library Instruction for ESOL students

How do you engage students in academic support resources at your college or university? How do you overcome perceived or real barriers preventing access to resources like the library or tutoring? Lynch is the library liaison for all non-departmental centers and offices (e.g., Center for Teaching and Learning, Global Studies) and spoke about involvement  with IELP (Intensive English Language Program) a two-week summer bridge program for international students who need extra language and writing skills to help them get a jump start before semester. This was the college’s very first summer bridge program, and part of the VPAA initiative to focus on retention and success. It was approved at the last minute so there was little time to prepare.

The ½ credit program consisted of six hours of English language and writing instruction each day for ten days. Instruction was delivered by Center for Teaching and Learning and peer writing tutors. The library provided 4 short sessions (two times each week of the program). The library sessions were scheduled for the end of the day and students were inevitably exhausted by the time they arrived. The goals for library sessions were to cover the physical space, the librarians, library resources including I-share, helping students understand the differences between types of information, where to look, and search strategies.

Lynch sought feedback on expectations, constructive criticism and information on student engagement with resources on campus, conducting six semi-structured interviews over 7-8 hours. When asked why they chose to participate in the program, most said they had gaps in English and/or lacked confidence. Some students wanted to get to know the town, some wanted to meet people and others wanted to get an edge. One student remarked that for “every international student no matter how well you are prepared you are still underprepared.”

Five out of six students had come to the reference desk and half had sent their friends to the desk. Every student had remembered every skill covered in the four library sessions. Five out of six had used tutoring and three had referred their friends. They sent their friends to people they were familiar with. All students were positive about the program, but they were a particularly highly motivated group and perhaps not representative. Lynch concluded that this was a nice model for helping less acculturated students become more acclimated to and more engaged with support.

Jorge Matos, Hostos Community College/CUNY
Latino Librarianship in a Predominately Latino Community College: Thoughts form a New Junior Faculty.

Matos began by presenting demographics of Hostos at a glance: 60% of students are Latino, and many are West Indian, as well. 65% are women, ¾ of students live in households earning less than $30k/year. Half are the first generation to attend college, and 1/3 continue on to 4 year institutions. The college serves lots of working mothers and other working students. These facts aren’t always obstacles and can sometimes add to the educational experience. Hostos was founded in 1968 through political pressure/advocacy, and located in old abandoned tire factory. There were no labs, pool, theater or gym. The 1975-7 Save Hostos campaign, in response to a decision to close the school and merge it with Bronx Community College, was a major turning point in the school’s history. Students, faculty and the community participated in mass demonstrations and engaged in civil disobedience. Supporters took over the Grand Concourse for a whole afternoon and brought classrooms into the street. In a strategy to bring national attention and establishment press to focus on the issue, they occupied the college for 20 days and the New York State Assembly eventually conceded to protests. These actions lead to the saving of the college and its continued development into what it is today. Hostos is a service-oriented institution and during his first year Matos participated in traditional reference and instruction, bilingual services and interaction with students and staff. Many students are recent immigrants. Sonia Sotomayor’s mother graduated from the college in the 70s with a degree in nursing.

Matos concluded with observations from first year. The current challenges include funding and space issues, library instruction and outreach to faculty (there is limited library staff), services to students with disabilities (modern adaptive technologies are a challenge), the increasing role of community college as site of workforce development and remedial education. Community colleges may be seen as an institution of last resort of lower income and communities of color or the disabled; this is a national trend.

Ana Ramirez Luhrs, Lafayette College
Crossing the Border: Librarians in the Classroom Beyond Information Literacy

Lafayette College is a small 4 year liberal arts college with approximately 2,000 students in Eastern Pennsylvania. The student body is mostly middle to upper-middle class and caucasian and Ramirez Luhrs serves as an advisor to Hispanic students at the college. She partnered with a LAS historian who works on Argentina and is interested in issues on gender and diversity on campus. They taught a class on these issues in 2013. The History 275 course was a 50/50 shared collaboration so Ramirez Luhrs was a teacher as well as embedded librarian. The course was organized around the themes “moving, mapping and telling.” Harvest of Empire was their main text and an anchor for all class discussions.
Ramirez Luhrs discussed the resources she used during each of the class themes.

Moving

This theme explored Mexican migrant workers in US (going back to Treaty of Guadalupe), and the Brazero program. It was important to use primary sources and teach visual literacy. The novel’s Mother Tongue and Drown were used for this theme. A few Latino students on campus self-selected for the class. Some were Dominican so the instructors added the Junot Diaz book to relate more.

Mapping

Ramirez Luhrs is interested in the politics of Latino immigration, so the class took a deep look at the Census and its history of representation of Hispanics and Latinos through the years. She also used Pew Hispanic Center as a resource because she wanted to give students a chance to access good data that doesn’t need to be crunched too much.

Telling

Anzaldua’s Borderlands was used in support of this theme. Ramirez-Luhrs taught students how to use governmental primary sources to research law. Students completed an assignment on legislation and gave presentations on the immigration propositions in CA and AZ, which were current events at the time. Other texts used included Frontera, The Circuit and Becoming American.

Lafayette has special collections with related content, including protest posters on anti-immigration policies, and these are used as teaching materials.

Students produced a document: 10 Things Every US Citizen Should Know about Latin American Immigration. Her students held an “Immigration Week,” and worked to get the campus community to think about human rights issues and immigration.

The co-teaching partnership brought the students into the library and lead to them telling their friends. The other professor feld that better quality assignments were turned in. A further outcome was that the students no longer had barriers about going into the library.

David Woken, University of Oregon
Human Rights and Genocide: Leveraging Academic Library Resources to Support Secondary Education

Woken presented on his involvement in a workshop that the University of Oregon hosted for secondary teachers, about human rights and genocide prevention. Lectures exhibits and workshops were conducted for both faculty and high school teachers as part of a grant-funded program.

The program wanted to bring in lots of disciplines to help people think about how they might teach about human rights, and the teacher workshop topics included:

  • Gendered violence and impunity: Bangladesh and Mexico
  • Teaching human rights in Latin America: problems sources and methods (Woken co-taught with a professor in the History Department
  • Art and human rights in Latin America: pedagogical approaches
  • The thirst for human rights and the struggle for water in Latin America and Africa

Woken’s workshop covered repressive states of the Cold War era. He built an online guide for university instructors, modified to emphasize open access materials (primarily in English). Both he and the faculty co-teacher wanted students to seek a critical understanding of human rights. For example, Woken highlighted online truth and reconciliation documents, and how to think about the limitations of these documents.

Challenges and Lessons:

  • Provide useable information about a range of different cases while not oversimplifying
  • Avoid stereotyping
  • Deal with complexity of human rights as a concept itself
  • Provide teachers information that they can work with and giving them a positive example with which to work
  • Working within the restraints high school teachers face
  • Not stereotyping the teachers (It turned out that many of the teachers were Latinos, and Spanish language resources could have been useful)

Second Q&A

AJ Johnson, UT-Benson, asked Woken if there had been a follow-up from the teachers and if he had promoted the teaching of online primary sources. Woken answered that lots of contacts were made, which has been very positive. He added that there was a trend in common core to encourage primary source reading, and that he did discuss them, including the Archivo Policia Guatemala.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 8:30-10:00 a.m.

Moderator:  Paula Covington, Vanderbilt University

Rapporteur: John Wright, Brigham Young University

Presentations

  • Making Book Fairs Friendlier through Technology — Jesus Alonso-Regalado, State University of New York, Albany
  • Acquiring the Unique and Unusual in Latin America and the Caribbean – Teresa Chapa, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • A First Buying Trip: Searching for Treasure in Trinidad — Adrian Johnson, University of Texas, Austin
  • Beyond the Book Trade: Establishing Relationships with Institutions and Scholars — David Block, University of Texas, Austin

Convington began the session sharing some results of her informal survey of SALALM members and their practices of making book-buying trips:  50+% attend one book fair per year, 30% attend 1-4 trips per year, one person reported that s/he attended 11 book fairs in 2012.  Some reasons librarians took no trips were lack of funding and time constraints.  Benefits of making book-buying trips include creating familiarity with the book market in that country/place, developing relationships with vendors, etc.  Some respondents of the survey indicated that they obtain funding to make such trips from their respective libraries through endowments and centers for Latin American studies.  Book-buying trips are important ways to acquire older items (retrospective collection development) and to discover what’s new.  One respondent to Covington’s informal survey indicated that it is critical to be in Latin America as often as possible if you are to be a bibliographer for Latin American materials.

Alonso-Regalado discussed how technology has always preceded book buying.  In his presentation he discussed how technological friendliness at Latin American book fairs (he says, “Not so much.”)  He also shared how he uses technology at book fairs.  Only Bogotá and Buenos Aires are prepared for mobile technologies.  You don’t need an app.  But other books fairs have apps.  Using apps appears to be more trendy.  Cuba, Santo Domingo, Bienal in Brazil, Liber (Spain)—sometimes they use a different Facebook page for each year.  Others fairs keep a continuous dialog going.  The recommendation is to have one account and use twitter with #[year] for each fair.  Wireless is not very good.  Without it, you can’t access any of this.  It is like building a house by constructing the roof first.  It doesn’t make sense.  At Guadalajara book fair, some vendors have great wifi.  One can ask them to use their passwords or go outside the fair into the city where free wifi exists, in food court areas, etc.  E-books have special places.  Corner digital, one book fair is all e-books.  Most important app is from Germany.  You want an app that allows you to open spreadsheet, Docs to Go, connect this to DropBox, generate a list (html) for each country and connect to my library.  He carries a list of books wanted by students, and has exchange rates handy.  He notes the importance of keeping students and faculty involved in trips through Facebook pictures so they see the books before they are processed; and they can request rapid processing.  Alonso-Regalado establishes a strong emotional connection with faculty and highlights the books he feels are most important.  He shares on Facebook and sends spreadsheets via email.  “Las farias del libro” Cerlac, open access book 2012:  http://www.cerlalc.org/files/tabinterno/2f0015_Ferias_Digital.pdf

Chapa views book-buying trips as a way to get access to small press items and handmade books from collectives or individual artists.  It also is a good way to get titles with poor or no distribution, such as indigenous literature.  She notes that she collects unique and unusual things in order to document 21st-century Latin American popular, literary, social and political culture.  She is drawn to items aesthetically and she works to acquire materials that support curricular and research needs of students and faculty. Chapa notes some things to consider before collecting on book-buying trips:  How will you get the materials back to your institution?  Where will they be housed in your institution?  Will the curator/librarian accept the materials?  What are the added costs of acquiring these materials—preservation/conservation concerns, cataloging?  Who will fund this purchase?  Does the material fit into the curriculum?  What kind of publicity and outreach can be generated to promote use?  Chapa purchased a portable Mayan altar that needed quite an elaborate box.  Where to start?  Go to independent and specialized bookstores (like El conejo blanco in Mexico City).  Go to galleries and cafes, museums and cultural institutions, street fairs, in-country vendor assistance, specialized book art dealers, book artists and bookmaking collectives can be found via websites, Facebook pages, personal contacts.

Johnson discussed his first book-buying trip to Trinidad, sharing the upsides and downsides of the experience.   He noted that he got administrative support for the trip by tagging it onto a conference. Then he assessed the collection to identify gaps. The following are his upside and downsides:

Upside—I saw the Benson’s collection of Trinidadian music before the trip.  Downside—with 150 colleagues in the same place doing the same thing, I didn’t realize how picked over the resources would be.  Upside—Unique places.  I looked for unique places before and was prepared.  Downside—Some of these unique places were closed or didn’t have anything.  Upside—Some of these unique places came through.  I found back issues of the Carnival Magazine.  Downside—Carrying around a bag’s worth of materials all day and week.  Plan ahead to deal with the materials you buy.  Upside—Coffee shops with wireless were very beneficial.  Upside—Connections/friends who were always willing to help.  Downside—I could have bought many things from our libreros.  Upside—Having a camera to use while searching.  Downside—Didn’t take enough pictures to document work trip.  Upside—meeting new, fun, interesting and crazy people along the way.

Block indicated that we are fantastic travelers.  We should know where our faculty are going, what they are doing pre- and post-research.  We are lucky to have the great libreros in SALALM who do such great work for us.  Why should we travel?  1) Some materials are best in situ.   Feature films and musical performances are examples.  Others include cheat maps, street literature, publications from political parties, 2) Insinuating ourselves in cultural institutions and scholars, and 3) Navigating cultural patrimony.   He tries to evaluate the scholarly interest and object location.  David warned that when we return home we need to be careful when filling out the immigration reentry forms.  Be careful how you indicate what you are bringing in or out of a country.  Librarians may be facing documentary repatriation in the future.

QUESTIONS:

Peter Bushnell (University of Florida)—Do sound recordings at the University of Texas, Austin go into the Benson Institute or the Fine Arts Library?  Johnson has spoken with the Fine Arts Library.  Patrons will be able to go into the catalog to identify items, but then will be able to pick up their desired materials at either the Benson or the Fine Arts Library.

Adán Griego (Stanford University)—Teresa mentioned independent publications—connection between group PDF catalog is existent.  Excursions and interesting—went to see Cartonera, Billega & Felicidad.  Teresa—it was gone the next year.

Mark Grover (Brigham Young University)—Young colleagues have interest in our collections by country, but our collections are not connected by 2nd order of interest—we have to select areas/disciplines within the country.  For example, German immigration in Santa Catarina, Brazil, family histories, regional histories.  These types of materials are in large measure not available in the United States.

Elmelinda Lara (University of the West Indies)—I support Mark’s collection for Trinidad.  Get information on LPs, get music.  Social commentary is on the cover.  Christmas music/Param is important for Trinidad collection.  AV materials for humorous recordings.  Print materials.  Labor movements are another big place.  Personal contacts with them.  They may deliver them themselves.

Jennifer Osorio (University of California, Los Angeles)—What about when you get back?  Understaffed departments.o

Covington responded that you should work more with your Spanish/Portuguese catalogers to help set priorities.  Johnson told about featuring the cataloger on Facebook as part of the whole process.  Alonso-Regalado indicated that he buys some gifts or sweets for the Technical Services staff.  Covington added that she creates lists and gives comments to the cataloger.  Chapa said to engage the staff with the newly acquired items.  Let them watch the videos, etc.  Be good to acquisitions people.

Phil MacLeod (Emory University)—I recently brought back 100-200 books.  I got a sense from the folks in acquisitions about how best to process this.  Without them the library administration would stop this [my book-buying trips] process.  Covington responded that technical services staff are involved in SALALM, and they are involved at Vanderbilt.  Adán Griego indicated that giving context to what we are receiving helps technical services colleagues. Griego always expresses gratitude for what they do with the materials he brings home.  Johnson responded that he thinks it is important to help Library Administration realize that by going on the trips he is acquiring something unique versus another copy of Tom Sawyer.

Gayle Williams (Florida International University)—Over the last ten years, I have found that preparation is important.  I print out and put in a spiral bound notebook.  Collection development becomes the orphan of our position because we are so stretched in other directions.  By being prepared, we are able to “focus’ our efforts.  Serendipity is important as well.  You stumble into things.  Spread the net wide.  Our SALALM book dealers are a great resource when I am on the ground, but I think they may get the wrong idea.  Some may ask, “Why not let them do all the work.”  It is important for the bibliographer to be on the ground as well.  We need to make sure we educate the SALALM book dealers as well so that they understand that going on book buying trips is important for us librarians.

Wendy Griffin—California linguists who help to write and create alphabets are a good place to find indigenous things.  Get in touch with local librarians and archivists.  They know who the scholars are.  They are not buying or acquiring books, but they will know who the people are.

Teresa Chapa—At UNC—Chapel Hill we are allowed to have our faculty who are abroad buy materials that they want.  They are reimbursed by the library when they return.

Phil MacLeod (Emory University)—How do you help a 20th-century librarian get into the 21st century?  Alonso-Regalado responded that anyone can do this.  Technology has always been with us, it is just a different form of technology that we are using now.

Adán Griego (Standford Univeristy)—I walk around with a cuaderno. Jesús Alonso-Regalado (SUNY-Albany)—Another tip—do small cooperative decisions on the fly.  Look for hot items, share information with colleagues.  That we can have 2 or 3 copies of an item in different regions of the United States.

Margarita Vannini (Instituto de la Historia de Nicaragua)—Patrimonio Cultural—I have an opposite perception.  Our countries are well preserved in the libraries of the United States  and Germany.  Perhaps you could return things to us that only exist in your libraries.  We can cooperate and share.  We recognize that many things are spread around the world.  Can we collaborate to digitize things that will help us to complete our history?

Debra McKern (Library of Congress)-What are you doing with your images of tagging [street art, graffiti]?  Block responded that LC is doing things and Princeton is doing things.  He will follow their lead.  There has been a proposal made at LARRP.  LC has BPG and DLOC already doing that.  Covington encouraged all who travel to put written reports of our trip up on the SALALM website.

 

Panel 1, May 30, 2011, 11:00 am-12:55 pm

Moderator: Paloma Celis Carbajal, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Presenters: Gregory Berger, Grigoyo Productions; Shamina de Gonzaga, What moves you?; Carlos Gutiérrez, Cinema Tropical; Alexandra Halkin, Chiapas Media Project; Christopher Moore, Sol Productions
Rapporteur: Daisy V. Domínguez, The City College of New York

Paloma Celis Carbajal began by noting that she met several of the panelists at LASA and suggested they come to SALALM to promote their material to libraries and that she was very pleased they accepted her invitation to participate on this panel. Carbajal noted that Gregory Berger of Grigoyo Productions could not attend.

Christopher Moore, Director of Sol Productions, began his talk, “Film as Source Material and Teaching Tool: Sol Productions and Moving Pictures o Los Autos de Caracas,” by saying that his goal on the panel was twofold. First, he wanted to consider theoretical approaches to memory in the documentary film genre and second, to find ways to work with librarians to preserve and provide access to these films. He co-founded Sol Productions in 2006 with the idea that the company’s films would not be the final word but would provoke more discussion about different topics. In 2007, Sol Productions produced three documentary films (in Venezuela, Senegal and France). Since their company did not have a public relations firm working with them, they traveled to over 90 schools to promote their films, but Moore notes that would not be possible this year due to the economic situation. Moore said he was excited to be at the conference in order to get ideas about how to promote their films even in difficult economic times and how to make them available in libraries throughout the world. Adding material online is one way around this but he wondered about the financial viability of it. Moore said that film is a very serious analytic tool as both a compliment to written works but also in its own right. Moore ended by showing the trailer for the Hugo Chavez documentary, “Puedo Hablar May I speak?”

Next, Alexandra Halkin, founding director of Chiapas Media Project and the Americas Media Initiative, presented “Collaborative Documentation and Advocacy.” They have been working with the Zapatistas since 1998. Due to the militarization of Chiapas, the last Zapatista video was produced in 2006. The war on drugs has filtered throughout southern Mexico and has affected their ability to produce for external distribution, though not for internal distribution. A lot of their archival material is being lost (covered in fungus in many cases) due to lack of climate control and the fact that a lot of material is still videotaped. While Halkin and her colleagues know what is needed to preserve this film, there is no funding for it and the situation has not changed. There are copies of the films in Mexico and the United States. Distribution to universities in the U.S. is critical and has sustained their work but due to the economic downturn, it has become difficult to obtain funding for travel and honoraria. The Cuban media project does not have distribution outside of Cuba and there are problems with the English subtitles in these Cuban documentaries. The work of TV Serrana, which was founded by UNESCO in 1993 and has 490 documentaries, is of excellent quality and subject matter. With funding from the Ford Foundation, they were able to add English subtitles to 20 of their documentaries. Librarians’ work is very important.  Money from the sale of videos goes back to Chiapas and Cuban communities. Halkin noted that they have tried to develop a symbiotic relationship between universities and marginalized filmmakers in Mexico and Cuba and this allows them to produce more films. Halkin ended by showing a trailer from the TV Serrana Tour.

Carlos Gutiérrez of Cinema Tropical began his presentation, entitled “New Partnerships in Latin American Outreach Through Film: The Cinema Tropical Case,” by noting that Cinema Tropical is a New York City based media arts organization which promotes Latin American cinema in the United States through regional programming. Noting that the economic crisis affecting the film world is affecting all of us, Cinema Tropical is interested in collaboration with the academic library world.

Gutiérrez then moved on to describe the recent explosion of independently produced film in countries like Argentina. In the mid-1990s, Argentina produced a new generation of filmmakers that produced feature and documentary films without government funding as had been done in the past. Then this explosion of film moved to Uruguay, which hadn’t produced a film in years, and more recently, Central America. However, it is difficult to get access to material from Central America.

When Gutiérrez moved to New York from Mexico City in 1997, there was not much Latin American cinema on American screens. The so-called “Three Amigos” brought attention to what was happening in Latin American cinema. Cinema Tropical began by having weekly screenings over the course of one year which led to interest by other theaters. So, they created a network in NYC and then in the country and have screened thirteen films across the U.S.,  which has become part of their circuit of films. They then started doing theatrical releases, which are the main aspect of releases which guarantee reviews. The now defunct LAVA (Latin American Video Archives) was a key organization in bringing videosl from Latin America over to the U.S. and Cinema Tropical has not really found new ways of doing this.

A major issue is that there is very little knowledge on how to contextualize Latin American film and therefore, to have critical debates. He mentioned, for example, that the New York Times reviewer of “Amores Perros”directed by González Iñáritu loved the film but thought that there had not been any art house films from Mexico since Buñuel. He noted that this is one way that universities can do outreach. Cinema Tropical partnered with the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU and combined screenings with discussion. Cinema Tropical also took screenings to the Arab world and more recently has partnered with the organization called What moves you? They recently started selling DVDs to universities. Cinema Tropical also created a list of the best ten Latin American films (which also mentions 130 films) of the past decade which led to a publication. Cinema Tropical will also publish a book on Lucrecia Martel, the director of “La Ciénaga,” who Gutiérrez recommends highly. He ended by promoting the screening of “Nostalgia por la Luz” (which screened the next day at the conference).

Shamina de Gonzaga’s presentation was entitled “Film as a Springboard for Dialogue on Immigration and Related Issues.” De Gonzaga started by noting the collaboration between Cinema Tropical (which served as the film distributor), NYU (which served as the academic hub), and her organization, What moves you? (which produces awareness campaigns) on the Indocumentales film series, which seeks to show the subtleties surrounding the issue of immigration. These events are also a way to disseminate resource packets and educational materials so that the film is “not accepted as gospel” but extends the conversation. De Gonzaga noted that it is not the same to see a five minute news report about a tragic incident as watching a 90 minute in-depth documentary. She gave an overview of the five films that were screened. The first film is “Al Otro Lado” which deals with drug trafficking and the popular musical genre known as narcocorridos. Another film is “Farmingville” which follows the aftermath of the killing of day laborers. De Gonzaga noted that the strong reaction among audience members to this film in particular validates the importance of having these screenings. “Los Que Se Quedan” deals with the impact of immigration on those who stay behind. “The Sixth Section” is a short which deals with people in upstate New York which sends money back to Mexico to build a baseball stadium. “Which Way Home” deals with mostly very young Central American children who attempt to come to the U.S. by freight trains and many times do not make it. “Mi Vida Adentro” is about an undocumented woman who is accused of killing a child in her care. De Gonzaga notes that during the screenings they may have lawyers who are more qualified to answer certain questions as well as community members because it is important not to be in silos. De Gonzaga ended by showing a clip of “Al Otro Lado,” which screened later that afternoon.

Questions and Comments:

Paloma Celis Carbajal commented on films as a catalyst to dialogue so that people will be receptive to certain issues. The Indocumentales series went to Wisconsin and it was tied to an exhibit on 200 years of immigration between US and Mexico. Celis Carbajal thought of this topic because she wanted something that was of interest not just to Mexicans.  This was the first time she got e-mails from the community requesting material from the exhibit, not just from faculty and students. So, this springboard from the film series worked.

Jesus Alonso-Regalado (SUNY Albany) asked whether the distributors were considering selling streaming videos. Gutiérrez said that this was not available yet but acknowledged that this is the trend. Moore said that “Democracy in Dakar” is sold digitally via iTunes but there is no distinction between individual and institutional purchases. They are behind on the process but open to it.

Daisy Domínguez (City College of New York) asked whether any collaborations had come about as a result of the dialogues at the screenings. De Gonzaga said that the resource packet helped and that it happens all the time. Halkin noted that a number of U.S. students have come down as interns to Chiapas and later, professional relationships have developed. Professors have toured TV Serrana and Halkin will be taking some of them to a national film festival in Cuba. She notes that the screenings open up the possibility for collaborations on different levels. Even individual communications like e-mails are a stepping stone toward bigger things. Moore noted that some students who are not at film schools have been motivated to pursue filmmaking and have even gone on to having their films screened at places like the Tribeca Film Festival.

Paula Covington (Vanderbilt University) asked whether Halkin had a sense of the scope of the archive and the cost of preservation of the Chiapas Media Project. Halkin said that the tapes are dispersed but that there were about 1,000 hours worth of recordings, including raw footage, on mini DV cassette and some on super VHS.

Martha Mantilla (University of Pittsburgh) asked whether there were any packages for institutions who want to invite these organizations to do presentations at universities. Gutiérrez noted that Cinema Tropical acts as intermediaries between libraries and filmmakers and mentioned packages like “Latin American Left” and “Music and Film Series.” He highlighted Brazilian filmmakers who have made a lot of films on many singers which also delve into issues of race, politics, and class but which are not distributed in the U.S.