‘SALALM Speaks’ Archives
By the time the 42nd Buenos Aires Book Fair opened to book professionals, several of the librarians from the United States attending this year’s event had already visited many of the book spaces in a city known for its many book outlets. It was no coincidence that the hotel was only a few blocks away from Avenida Corrientes, still home to many a book shop in Argentina’s capital. Only a few weeks earlier the iconic street had showcased its legado libresco at La Noche de las Librerías, a cultural event already in it’s 9th year.
For me, I was determined to find a book I had seen at a bookdealer’s catalog in San Francisco. The profusely illustrated, oversize hardcover proved to be quite an adventure: none of the main shops on Corrientes had even heard about it. At one of them it was suggested I consult Librería de la Imagen, whose specialty is local and importerd art books. But the store was already closed on a Saturday afternoon.
A few days later at the Fair’s exhibit hall I mentioned it to the shop’s owner and he had a vague notion about it but his bookstore did not carry it. When I finally secured a copy, thanks to our Library’s vendor, I showed it to the MALBA bookshop cashier who was equally impressed by the book and just as surprised about the limited distribution, ya sabe como son las cosas por acá, he said, agreeing with me that it would make sense for the Museum’s bookstore to have copies for sale.
As in previous years, academic presses had a very visible collective stand while several of the regional governments (provincias) were mostly housed in a large pabellón along with several other NGOs. A local dealer commented that given the new, more fiscally conservative government these entities may not have the same presence at subsequent fairs.
New at this year’s book fair: an on-site courier service that facilitated sending packages without leaving the exhibit hall and Nuevo Barrio, the aisle housing independent publishers with a combined output ranging from fanzines to libros artesanales and graphic novels.
By the time the fair closed its doors after a three week run, organizers reported having hosted 1.2 milion visitors, also announcing Los Angeles as Ciudad invitada for 2017.
Adan Griego, Curator for IberoAmerican Collections-Stanford University.
This article is cross-posted from the WESS newsletter.
The FIL, or Feria Internacional de Libro de Guadalajara (Guadalajara International Book Fair), is a “must go” for any librarian building a collection of Spanish-language materials. It is the largest annual Spanish-language book fair in the Western Hemisphere. At the fair, you will have access to academic, independent, and commercial publishers, networking with colleagues who do the same work you do, and Spanish-language materials from all over the world, at all reading levels, on topics ranging from general to specific interests. This article follows a previous WESS Newsletter article titled, “From Coast to Coast: A New Librarian’s Summer of Professional Development.” In that article, I mentioned some of the ways I had been preparing to attend the book fair in Mexico. The fair took place November 28 – December 5, 2015, with three Professional Days, or días con horario exclusivo para profesionales, during which librarians and book distributors could work unimpeded by the public. In this article, I will give an overview of the preparations, attendance, and results of attending a book fair. There’s not one way to feriar, or “book fair,” so you should consider what works for your local context and personal abilities.
It’s worth noting the American Library Association’s ALA-FIL FREE PASS Program is open for registration for 2016 with a September 2 deadline. According to their website, “The Guadalajara Book Fair is offering an additional $100 to the first 100 applicants who submit their airfare confirmation by October 2nd.” Both the ALA and the FIL offer a $100 reimbursement, for a total of $200, providing you meet the deadlines and criteria. The FIL also has a robust website, available in English, that you should review before attending. Note you don’t have to speak Spanish to attend, but you will most likely rely on your colleagues and perhaps a distributor who do.
I’ll discuss the following:
- Making your Case
- Before leaving the US
- Working with a distributor
- Attending: shopping, navigating, and using technology
- Shipping materials & returning to the US
MAKING YOUR CASE
In the digital age, attending a book fair in another country may be perceived by your library’s administration or colleagues as unnecessary: “Can’t you just order these books online?” Fortunately for me, that is not the case at my institution, despite the trend of my library moving toward a more Patron-Driven Acquisition (PDA) model (which assumes that books will be available when the patron realizes they want them. Spanish-language materials, given limited print runs and other constraints, are not easily available online). Given your local situation, you may have to advocate for attending the book fair by mentioning benefits like access to limited print runs and small and independent publishers. Brushing up on persuasion techniques, like I mentioned in my first article, could be helpful. Additionally, you may have to make the case why attending the book fair is cost-effective.
Fortunately, a generous colleague of mine in SALALM (Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials) had already crunched the numbers and was willing to share that information with me so I could show the Head of Acquisitions at my institution. My colleague had compared how much it would cost to buy the books at retail in the US from a distributor versus travel expenses, purchases, and shipping costs in a do-it-yourself, or DIY, model. He found that it was significantly cheaper for him to go to the FIL and purchase and ship the books himself, given the large volume of materials he is able to purchase. He also noted that a large portion of what he bought was unique to his library in his state (around 90% of titles!) according to an examination of other libraries’ holdings via WorldCat. Unique titles in a sense are priceless because they add a richness and depth to not only your library’s collection, but the whole Interlibrary Loan landscape.
To be clear, the FIL is a professional development activity. As another SALALM colleague put it, “it’s impossible not to get professional development at the FIL.” If your library requires information about the program and sessions, check out the Training for Professionals page, as well as last year’s programming: FIL 2015 Program. There were many events, including talks by famous authors (Salman Rushdie, for example) and the OMT-FIL Translators Congress. Also, keep in mind the networking possibilities and relationships you will make with vendors and publishers. Even if you buy nothing, my colleague says, attending the FIL is useful because you learn about the publishing industry in ways you cannot at your desk. I found this to be true (even though I ended up buying a lot).
Beyond professional development, Guadalajara and its surroundings are a wonderful place to be a tourist. The nearby cities of Tlaquepaque and Tonalá are located in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area and have shops, vendors, and market days (you will need to join a tour or rent a car to get to these places). Within the city, there are plenty of historical and cultural sites. The city’s murals, by José Clemente Orozco and David Alvaro Siqueiros, are captivating. If you go beyond the city, you could visit a tequila distillery or the Guachimontones ruins with its fascinating circular stepped pyramids (and connection to the Voladores de Papantla, who you might see performing in Tlaquepaque). The language and culture immersion can only make you a better librarian and resource to your community and students.
SALALM Colleagues on a tour of the Tres Mujeres Distillery
BEFORE LEAVING THE US
I began my preparations with my library’s acquisitions department and fiscal officer. We discussed my budget, sales tax, currency conversion, and the possibility of working with a distributor. My library wanted to receive all books on one invoice, so that necessitated working with a distributor. Without one, I would have had to pay each vendor individually in cash and receive all manner of invoices, including some handwritten ones. Regarding currency, there are several ATMs located in or near the Expo Guadalajara conventions facility; however, I’m told they have a withdrawal limit of $300 USD per day and have been known to run out of cash. All of your purchases will be made in Mexican pesos; some vendors take credit cards. If you plan to spend a lot of money, I recommend getting currency from a bank in the US prior to travel and taking common safety precautions (the book fair gets really crowded!). A SALALM colleague of mine takes tax-exempt forms with her for vendors to fill out in order to do business with them later by mail.
A distributor will purchase your selected titles and ship them to your library along with an invoice with their markup on the prices. Receiving an invoice from only one company may be a benefit to your organization as was the case with mine, but you should also take into consideration what services the distributor provides, what their turnaround time is for shipping, and what their markup is on the price of the books. They may only provide you a rough estimate of the markup. Postage may also be a separate charge. Distributors often negotiate a price lower than the feria or special book fair price, so their markup will be some percentage on top of a price to which you may not be privy. The discount varies by vendor and their relationship to your distributor. My SALALM colleagues recommended various distributors to me and suggested I speak on the phone with a few of them before deciding with whom to work.
I also prepared to attend the FIL by getting to know the areas of interest of the Spanish Program faculty at my institution. I created a survey on what types of materials and content they preferred in order to delve deeper than the information that is available via their faculty profiles. I attended a faculty meeting, described the book fair, and handed out fliers with the link to the survey. They were enthusiastic about my endeavor, and their responses influenced which country and vendor/publisher stands I visited.
Universidad de Guadalajara stand
As I mentioned in my fall article, Adan Griego led the Spanish portion of the Area Studies Workshop in San Francisco last summer that provided a lot of background information on the publishing industry and market for Spanish-language library materials in the US. He is the Curator for Latin American, Mexican-American and Iberian Collections at the Stanford University Libraries, and a colleague of mine in SALALM who first began attending book fairs in 1992. In his post, Attending Book Fairs: Why It Matters, he mentions several important considerations for attending book fairs, including access to limited print runs, or tirajes, of sometimes only 250-500 copies. See photo, below, for an example of what to look for in a book:
“The print run was 500 copies.”
Adan led a pre-FIL/ALA orientation webinar for all librarians about a week before the fair, and an in-person orientation for academic librarians with Lisa Johnson (Eckert College) at one of the conference hotels, the Guadalajara Plaza Ejecutivo López Mateos (many of the area hotels have similar names, so be sure to know your hotel name and address). Adan typically does a walk-through of the Expo Guadalajara convention facility to scope vendor stand locations and possible hot items. This past year there were graphic novels about Juan Rulfo, Gabriel García Márquez, and Ernesto “Che” Guevara. A distributor can also advise you on trending areas of study and other practical advice about the book fair, so if you are working with one, you should definitely chat with them before heading to the fair.
The pre-FIL/ALA orientation webinar covered concerns about what to expect: hotel facilities (they’re comfortable and comparable to US hotels), how to pack for the climate in Guadalajara, transportation concerns, etc. The webinar also covered how to get to know your library user community through census data and other ways. As an aside, I found using Uber in Guadalajara was the cheapest and quickest option when I was too tired to walk. I also found that I could get a TravelPassSM through Verizon for only $2/day that gave me access to talk, text, and data in Mexico. Other phone providers may offer similar services.
Attending the in-person orientation was especially helpful since I had some publishers and areas of research in mind. Adan and Lisa knew the vendors and even the locations of some of their stalls, which helped me to plot my course through the Expo building. Adan also mentioned that some of the stalls, like UNICEF and some of the government publishers, would hand out free materials to librarians if we asked for them.
WORKING WITH A DISTRIBUTOR
As I mentioned, a distributor will purchase your selected titles and ship them to your library along with an invoice with their markup on the prices. I chose to work with Alfonso Vijil of Libros Latinos, which has recently taken over operations of the Latin American Book Store (LABS). I worked with Alfonso because I already had an Approval Plan with LABS and knew there was the potential for receiving duplicates of the titles I selected at the FIL, so I wanted to avoid costly returns of materials. I also knew Alfonso and Linda Russo of LABS have been in the business for a long time, are themselves SALALM members, and have worked with several of my colleagues. To contract a distributor, you may want to first see if any of your established vendors offer this type of service, you can ask your professional network for recommendations, or, once you register for the FIL, you can expect to receive emails from distributors offering their services to you. You may or may not have a written agreement with a distributor about the terms of the relationship, but you should talk to your library administration if that is a concern. Many distributors operate on a personal relationship-based honor system. Some distributors may be willing to ship your materials for you on a hybrid-DIY model, allowing you to purchase and package your own materials and save a bit of money. Be aware that packaging your own materials can be exhausting, especially if you are going to haul large amounts of them across the Expo facility floor. A public librarian will have a very different experience with a distributor than an academic librarian, so be sure to find out the typical clientele of your potential distributor.
In my case, I left piles of books at each vendor stall with my card on them and Alfonso’s name written on the back. I let each vendor know that Alfonso would be coming around to pay for and pick up my books. (I’d then send a text to Alfonso so he and his team could plan to swing by certain stalls before the end of the day.) Many of them already knew him, and most seemed very at ease with the arrangement. As I mentioned, some of these books have extremely limited print runs, so if you have very specific needs, you may be able to use the online FIL catalog to identify titles that you want to purchase and call your distributor in advance to have them set aside. Some distributors prefer that you provide a list of titles to buy instead of making piles of books for them to pick up. Some even offer scanning tools to use on the barcodes of desired items (anecdotally, I heard these don’t always work well). Distributors may attempt to get your titles cheaper through another channel after the FIL is over. If this is the case, you may end up getting only 50-75% of the titles you selected at the FIL because of unavailability through those other channels. Be sure to discuss this possibility with your distributor and agree upon the best way to work together and communicate while at the FIL.
ATTENDING: SHOPPING, NAVIGATING AND USING TECHNOLOGY
Each day, I would spend about 4 hours working at the fair. It’s tedious and fun at the same time, but the work will drain you. Plan to use the other hours to network, sightsee, and attend professional development activities. Before leaving my hotel in the mornings, I would revisit my faculty survey results as well as the floor map of the Expo building. I made myself a list of the stalls and vendors I wanted to visit that day, based on my faculty needs and recommendations from Adan and other colleagues. I also kept a running estimate of my funds.
Because of the availability of WiFi throughout the venue, I used my iPad and Bluetooth keyboard to check WorldCat while making my selections. Upon entering a stand, I would start looking around for books that fit my library users’ needs. Sometimes I would speak with the staff at the stand when there was something particular I needed or was unable to find. Then, I would make a pile of books that I was interested in. Often the staff would clear a spot for me to stand or find me a chair, and I would look them up individually. Using WorldCat, I was able to check if my library already owned the title and what other nearby libraries owned it. When I determined which items I wanted to buy according to my criteria, I would make a pile of books for Alfonso to pick up and snap a photo of it.
Your criteria for the books you select will depend upon local needs, but you may also wish to consider how your purchases will fit into the larger library landscape in the US. Watch for translations of English language materials into Spanish. They can be tricky to spot, so double-check the title pages for names of translators or ask a staff person. Note that University Presses may bring older books, like a series of classic works, so you cannot assume everything at the fair is new. If you take an assistant (in my case, my dad), it cost $650 Mexican Pesos (approximately $37 USD) to pay the on-site registration for an additional person. He helped me to keep a separate handwritten list of the titles I selected at each stand, which came in useful, along with the photos of my piles of books, when reconciling invoices later.
Me and my trustworthy Sancho Panza/dad
My SALALM colleague at SUNY-Albany, Jesús Alonso-Regalado, put together some slides titled, “Making Book Fairs Friendlier Through Technology.” I won’t repeat any of the information in the slides, but I will update it: the FIL had an app by Goomeo called “FIL GDL 2015” that I found in the Play store (I don’t believe there’s an app for Apple users), that claimed to be the official app for FIL GDL 2015. There were additional unofficial apps. The Schedule was somewhat useful with events listed by date, but with 100+ events per day, you would have to scroll a lot. If you forgot which day Salman Rushdie was going to be there, you’d have to search for his name within the schedule for each individual day (a pre-filtered search). Maps were easy to use, but not searchable. Book Search was the catalog, but it did not seem to be comprehensive. The Exhibitors search worked within a country, so if you knew the name of a stand/vendor, but not its country, you could not find it easily (another pre-filtered search by country). The app does have a full-text search feature; but depending on the uniqueness of your search term, the results are potentially overwhelming. In the slides, Jesús provides some useful tips for preparing for technology, or lack thereof. He suggests taking a list of what your library already owns. I expected to have spotty or no Access to WiFi, so I obtained a list of all the books my library owns in Spanish into a spreadsheet and used the iPad App DocsToGo in order to read, search, and edit it. I didn’t end up using it because of the availability of WiFi and access to WorldCat and my library’s catalog.
The International area of the fair does not get as much traffic as the National area, so if you have to work on a non-professional day, be sure to visit the National area during professional days and save the International area for later. The International area also has a Salón de Profesionales or Professionals’ Room with a snack bar, meeting tables for consultations with publishers and other vendors, and a secure room to store your boxes if you are preparing to ship them yourself. It’s a great place to take a break. There is also a restaurant located outside the International Area near the side entrance to the facility where you can get delicious meals of typical Mexican favorites, like chilaquiles. Nearby are several hotels, which also have restaurants and business centers. The most delicious snack, however, may be the elote that you can buy from street vendors.
Professionals’ Room table
SHIPPING MATERIALS & RETURNING TO THE US
If you feel energetic and confident in your Spanish, you may wish to make arrangements with a private shipping company. There was a PakMail shipping store located on Avenida López Mateos Sur, near my conference hotel (Guadalajara Plaza Ejecutivo López Mateos), with both DHL and FedEx services. Some of my SALALM colleagues have used similar businesses in the past to ship books back to the US; others have taken a few books and DVDs back in their suitcases (take an extra empty suitcase!). My colleagues have told me DVDs may be charged duty when shipped into the US, so it’s better to put them in your suitcase if you only have a handful of them. I’m not an attorney or expert in import law, so you may also wish to contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the port where you will reenter the US. I spoke on the phone with a Customs agent in Houston who told me there are limits on the retail amount of the DVDs you bring back. He said if you have around $100-$200 worth, you are probably well within your rights to bring them to the US with no duty, but he recommended having all invoices/receipts available when declaring your goods at Customs, and suggested carrying a letter from your institution explaining the materials are for educational purposes. He also recommended getting assistance from an independent Customs Broker, especially if you are importing larger volumes of materials. Note that even if DVDs aren’t charged duty a broker will charge their own service fee and a merchandising fee. If you ship the materials yourself, a colleague warned me not to use the Mexican post, but rather FedEx Air (not Ground). If you use a ground shipping method, there’s the potential for your books to be damaged at the border, where they will be opened for inspection and re-packaged. Ground shipping requires additional paperwork and is slower, but is also cheaper, especially if you are sending large quantities of materials.
My materials arrived during January, 1 ½-2 months after I was in Mexico. I worked with the Acquisitions and Cataloging departments to arrange to have the books brought to me upon arrival, so that the Spanish Program faculty could stop by and check them out during an open house. I also talked about the book fair in my instruction sessions. One of my students was having trouble finding information about the Mexican author Jorge Volpi, and we were both surprised to find online news articles describing a talk he had given at the FIL.
The FIL is a well-attended and important cultural event in Guadalajara with lots of local, national, and international news coverage. It would have been impossible to participate in everything at the FIL, but the next time I go, I’ll be even better at “book fairing” and will make more of the opportunities to learn from the abundance of authors who attend.
Meganoticias covering the FIL
Special thanks to my SALALM colleagues Adan Griego (Stanford), Nerea Llamas (University of Michigan), Jesús Alonso-Regalado (SUNY), Melissa Gasparotto (Rutgers), Linda Russo (Latin American Book Store), and Alfonso Vijil (Libros Latinos and the Latin American Book Store). Gracias a mi padre, Richard Maxson, por acompañarme y manejar las calles de Guadalajara en su carro alquilado. Thanks also to Sara Lowe for reading my draft. All photos are my own.
Bronwen K. Maxson, MLIS
Humanities Librarian, Liaison to English & Spanish
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
Here’s a little backstory behind the recent news that the ALA Council approved a resolution to change the subject heading “Illegal Aliens” to “Undocumented Immigrants”:
In February 2014, a broad-based coalition of student activists at Dartmouth College carried out a series of protests on campus. These students co-authored a document called the “Freedom Budget” which proposed change in eight different areas of campus life. Among the points was a provision for the removal of offensive language from the library’s discovery systems – most notably, the subject heading “Illegal Aliens.” This point was raised by a subgroup of student activists, the Dartmouth Coalition for Immigration Reform, Equality and DREAMers (Co-FIRED).
A group of Dartmouth librarians met with Co-FIRED members and over the course of discussion, alighted on the thought of the students and the library jointly undertaking a proposal to change the subject heading through Dartmouth’s membership in SACO, the Subject Authorities Cooperative of the Library of Congress. Together they gathered research and prepared the proposal. It was submitted to the Library of Congress in July 2014. Unfortunately, the proposal was eventually denied. The Library of Congress Policy and Standards Division, the body which considers SACO proposals, gave the following explanation of why the proposals were not approved:
“Undocumented immigrants [and five related proposals]
This proposal was made to change the wording of the existing heading Illegal aliens to Undocumented immigrants. Illegal aliens is an inherently legal heading, and as such the preference is to use the legal terminology. The U.S. Code, Title 8, Aliens and Nationality, uses the terminology “illegal aliens.” In addition, the 9th edition of Black’s Law Dictionary includes the headword “illegal alien” with a cross-reference from “undocumented alien.” The Legislative Indexing Vocabulary used by the Congressional Research Service follows suit by authorizing the heading “Illegal aliens,” with a reference from “Undocumented aliens.” The meeting also notes that in some legal systems, a person may be an undocumented alien without being in a jurisdiction illegally; general works on undocumented legal aliens are covered by the heading Aliens. Finally, Immigrants – the proposed broader term for the revised heading – is not an inherently legal heading. Mixing an inherently legal concept with one that is not inherently legal leads to problems with the structure and maintenance of LCSH, and makes assignment of headings difficult.
All of the above argue against revising the heading. A UF Undocumented aliens was added to the record in 1993 to provide additional access, and reflects the fact that the common terminology is fluid.
The proposals were not approved.”
In this case, the principle that LCSH terms for groups of people should not be pejorative is in conflict with LC’s stated need to use the terminology that appears in the U.S. Code.
Having recently been appointed to the CaMMS Subject Analysis Committee (known as SAC, the charge of which is to “study problems and recommend improvements in patterns, methods, and tools for the subject and genre/form analysis and organization of library materials, including particularly classification and subject headings systems”), Tina Gross contacted John DeSantis, the Dartmouth cataloger who had worked on the proposal, to ask if it would be helpful to raise the issue with SAC. At the SAC meeting at ALA Annual 2015, the committee agreed that a larger discussion was warranted. At the Midwinter 2016 meeting, SAC voted to form a working group charged with investigating and providing a report.
Also at Midwinter 2016, Tina Gross submitted the Resolution on Replacing the Library of Congress Subject Heading “Illegal Aliens” with “Undocumented Immigrants,” written in collaboration with others (and with input from Sandy Berman), to the Social Responsibilities Round Table(SRRT), which voted to bring the resolution forward for consideration by ALA Council. Members of REFORMA, EMIERT, and SALALM helped spread the word and garner support. The resolution was also supported by the Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC), the Intellectual Freedom Round Table(IFRT), and SAC, and it passed at ALA Council nearly unanimously on January 12, 2016.
Jill Baron and Tina Gross
My first book buying trip happened without any strategic planning. A friend of a friend had an airline ticket for two people that was about to expire and I jumped at the opportunity to travel to Guadalajara, a city I had never visited in Mexico. Mine would be accommodating expenses at a modest hotel. I had a vague idea about a book fair going on during those dates but not much else. Little did I know that I was about to embark on one of the most transformative experiences any novice Latin American Studies librarian could ask for: attending Guadalajara’s Feria Internacional del Libro (FIL).
Guided by a generous friend, Professor Sarah Poot Herrera, I remember arriving at the entrance of FIL just as the famous Mexican writer Juan Jose Arreola was greeted by locals who had gathered to felicitate him as the winner of the Juan Rulfo Literary Award. Arreola had been my friend’s teacher and mentor. They greeted each other with a warm embrace, Felicidades Maestro, she said and then she introduced me to him. I could not say anything beyond mucho gusto. Later I remember feeling like a character from Arreola’s famous short story that takes a train to an unknown destiny as I entered FIL’s exhibit hall: an unexplored world inhabited books.
The following year I asked my supervisor for permission to attend FIL and purchase a few books. There was so much excitement when she agreed that I had not even contemplated logistics to ship materials back to the Library, so I carried them in my suitcases. The $600 spent would probably have taken twice as much from my constantly diminishing budget. It was during the grim years of the early 1990′s California economy. The FIL trip was one of the few rays of hope I remember from that period.
Since those early FIL days, I have attended other book fairs over the years: Barcelona and Madrid (for LIBER), Bogota, Buenos Aires, Lima, Mexico City, Santiago and Brazil’s Bienal do Livro in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
*In Santiago one year Brazil was the featured country and the person in charge of the stand had heard about SALALM from a former colleague in Rio de Janeiro and gave me several publications with little commercial distribution. This has also been the case in both Bogota and Guadalajara with governmental agencies that cannot sell their publications and are pleased to know that libraries in the United States are eager to collect them. Some of them remember me and other library colleagues from year to year.
*As part of the first group of US Librarians sponsored by LIBER in 1999, I discovered a peripheral but vibrant LGBT publishing industry in Madrid that was not being covered by vendors supplying research materials to North American libraries.
*One year Sao Paulo publishers announced a Primavera dos Livros and I convinced colleagues from UCLA and UNC-Chapel Hill to attend. After a long silence from organizers, we found out the event had been cancelled. It was too late to cancel our trip and collectively we organized our very our Spring Book Fair with tips from other colleagues who had visited Brazil.
*In both Lima and Bogota I have visited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) whose ephemeral publications had limited print runs and an equally limited distribution. Even when freely available online, uncertainty about long term availability remained a critical issue. This was the key argument in securing a print copy for our library.
*At several of the book fairs, it was not usual to hear “get it now,” from a publishers and vendors. I was skeptical until I saw at the end of most books that 1,000 was the typical print run and in some cases, even half that much. Indeed, many titles have a limited public life: a book fair, a presentación at a bookstore, perhaps an ad in a cultural magazine and then unsold copies disappear and vendors reply to our constant claims for an unfilled order as descatalogado or agotado, indicating out-of-print. As the price of paper has increased, unsold copies are often shredded and the paper is recycled.
*In Buenos Aires one year several SALALM colleagues visited the Eloisa Cartonera workshop when the hand-made cartonero books were barely in the collecting horizon for academic libraries.
*At a recent LIBER book fair several librarians visited the Arrebato Libros book shop which specializes in poetry, fanzines and chapbooks, research materials absent from traditional vendor channels. LIBER also has a parallel antiquarian book fair both in Madrid and Barcelona that allows not only for out-of-print searching but also a learning experience to both novice and veteran librarians.
*On-site specialty bookshops (Librería de Mujeres in Buenos Aires) or timely topics (the ongoing polemic for Catalan independence from Spain) provide an oppurtunity for unique collection development.
*In the last few years Guadalajara has also hosted La Otra FIL for alternative publishers and the LIA artist book fair, both independent events augment collecting possibilities.
*Our collective presence at book fairs has made it possible to facilitate dialogue with publishers and content providers and influence a digital offer suited to our libraries.
At all of these book fairs, vendors supplying books to our libraries have also been in attendance. Not only do they facilitate shipping of materials, they also learn first-hand what are the shifting scholarly trends.
I have attended presentaciones de libros, participated in local library conferences that have coincided with book fairs and spoken at panel discussions explaining book distribution channels to local vendors. Each of these experiences has been as enriching as that accidental first book fair attendance of 1992.
Adan Griego is Curator for Latin American, Mexican-American and Iberian Collections at the Stanford University Libraries.
Asociación internacional de bibliotecarios sostuvo mesa de trabajo con delegación de nuestra Biblioteca para comenzar a mater colaboración en torno a nuevas adquisiciones bibliográficas latinoamericanas.
07 de octubre de 2015
Con el propósito de conversar respecto a las adquisiciones bibliográficas sobre Latinoamérica y el Caribe y para conocer más sobre la labor de la BCN y diversos proyectos, una representación de “The Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials” (SALALM) se reunió este 6 de octubre con una delegación de nuestra Biblioteca, en la Cámara de Diputados, en Santiago, accediendo a la invitación que les extendiera Claudia Cuevas, integrante de SALALM y Jefa del Departamento de Producción de Recursos de Información.
El grupo -encabezado por la Presidenta de SALALM, Paloma Celis-Carbajal, quien además está a cargo de la Ibero-American Studies Collection de la Universidad de Wisconsin- sostuvo una fructífera reunión de trabajo con la delegación BCN, encabezada por nuestro Director Adjunto, Felipe Vicencio e integrada por Marcela Cáceres, encargada del Área de Relaciones Internacionales; Alejandra Munoz, Jefa de la Sección Desarrollo de Colecciones; María Angélica Fuentes, Coordinadora de Recursos Digitales; Paula Lekanda, Encargada del Programa Latinoamericano; Paola Santibanez, Encargada del Programa de Inclusión; y Allen Guerra, coordinador de la Seccion Ley Chile. Asistieron además, todos los bibliotecarios del Departamento de Producción.
Por su parte, la comitiva de SALALM la completaron Jennifer Osorio, Jefa del Departamento de Bibliotecarios de la Universidad de California; Alison Hicks, Bibliotecaria responsable de la Colección de Literatura, Cultura y Lenguas Romances de la Universidad de Colorado; Marisol Ramos, Bibliotecaria responsable de las Colecciones de Cultura Hispánica de la Universidad de Connecticut; Melissa Gasparotto, Bibliotecaria responsable de Estudios Latinoamericanos de la Biblioteca de la Universidad de New Jersey; Luis González, Bibliotecario responsable de Estudios Ibéricos, y Chicano-Portorriqueños de la Universidad de Indiana; y Miguel Valladares-Llata, Bibliotecario responsable de Estudios Latinoamericanos de la Universidad de Virginia. Todos ellos son tanto académicos como bibliotecarios.
“Este encuentro era un sueño, luego fue una idea y hoy, finalmente, se concreta en una mesa de trabajo desde la cual hemos comenzado a conversar para realizar, en conjunto con esta red bibliotecaria y sus vínculos, una serie de proyectos en torno al enriquecimiento de nuestras colecciones y a compartir archivos”, sostuvo Claudia Cuevas.
Por su parte, Paloma Celis-Carbajal valoró la invitación y la materialización del encuentro. “Nuestra asociación está integrada por bibliotecarios latinoamericanistas con poder de decisión sobre las colecciones latinoamericanas en nuestras respectivas universidades y con vasta experiencia en adquisiciones. Nos ha interesado conocer más de la BCN para intercambiar conocimientos, tendencias, estudiar proyectos a futuro y la verdad es que hemos quedado gratamente sorprendidos y al mismo tiempo seguros de que trabajaremos mucho más allá de esta reunión”, declaro.
Tras conocer más sobre la forma en la que nuestra Biblioteca realiza sus adquisiciones y respecto a una serie de proyectos y programas de la Institución como Ley Chile, el Observatorio Latinoamericano y el Programa de Inclusión, ambas comitivas intercambiaron contactos para comenzar a trazar las líneas de acción.
SALALM es una asociación fundada en 1956 -compuesta por bibliotecarios, académicos, y estudiantes interesados- que tiene como principales objetivos desarrollar colecciones Latinoamericanas y del Caribe en apoyo a la investigación académica, promover la cooperación de servicios bibliotecarios, investigar la problemática de selección y adquisición de materiales bibliográficos publicados en América Latina y el Caribe y suministrar materiales bibliográficos a los grupos de habla española y portuguesa en Estados Unidos.
SALALM members Sarah Buck-Kachaluba (UCSD), Ashley Larson (UCLA), and I participated in the latest offering of the California Rare Book School’s “History of the Book in Hispanic America, 16th-19th Centuries” course. Taught by Daniel J. Slive of Southern Methodist University’s Bridwell Library and David Szewczyk of the Philadelphia Rare Books and Manuscripts Company (PRBM) over the week of August 8 through August 14, it gave us the opportunity to study the cultural, social, and indeed material history of books in Latin America alongside librarians, archivists, and scholars from across the country. The course mixed in-class seminar discussions with field trips to examine selections from the UCLA Special Collections, the Huntington Library, the Getty Research Institute, and a portion of Szewczyk’s own wares, allowing us to get up-close with examples of the illustrating, printing, and binding techniques we studied in class.
The course allowed us to take full advantage of Los Angeles’s wide-ranging scholarly collections. The first day we examined selections of European incunabula from the UCLA Special Collections to help familiarize ourselves with the fifteenth and sixteenth-century printing techniques that informed early Latin American printing. It was also a wonderful chance to get up close and personal with some fantastic materials, including a Gutenberg Bible and Hartmann Schedel’s Liber cronicarum (the famous Nuremberg Chronicle of 1493). The following day we took a field trip to the Huntington Library where we examined Latin American publications from their collections, including multiple works by Archbishop Juan de Zumárraga (who brought the press to Mexico), the famed monk/ethnographer Bernardino de Sahagún, and multilingual works in Spanish, Latin, and various indigenous Mesoamerican languages aimed at fostering the conversion of the indigenous population. Though the museum was closed that day, the trip to the Huntington did leave us some time to explore the grounds and take in the beautiful surroundings.
Perhaps the greatest highlight of the course was Wednesday afternoon, when David Szewczyk let us get hands-on with a suitcase full of books, pamphlets, and broadsides that he brought with him from the PRBM’s offices. David has both a deep scholarly interest in Latin American print and manuscripts and a wealth of lively stories about the book trade that provided us with a vivid picture of the production and circulation of books in colonial Latin America and their collection in subsequent eras. His collection branched out beyond New Spain and Peru to include materials from the Caribbean, Venezuela, and the Southern Cone. We were able to see planning documents from colonial Havana, satirical pamphlets from nineteenth-century Mexico, and broadsides from Venezuela’s struggle for independence from Spain. It was also nice to be able to get our hands on the materials, considering the material nature of the book was one of the focuses of the course. As David said when asked why he trusted us to handle such valuable materials, “we’re all professionals here.”
Thursday gave us our second trip into the UCLA Special Collections, this time to examine their historic Mexican collections. In addition to colonial texts we also got to explore nineteenth-century materials made using what were then state-of-the-art techniques for printing, binding, and illustrating. Highlights included the beautiful full-color chromolithographic title pages and tinted lithographic reproductions of early colonial codices in a three-volume 1844-1846 edition of William H. Prescott’s Historia de la conquista de México, the sumptuous tinted lithograph illustrations of the region around Mexico City in Mexico y sus alrededores (1855-1857), and a collection of children’s books featuring color cover illustrations from José Guadalupe Posada (or at least his firm) published in the Biblioteca del niño mexicano (1899-1900).
For our last day we went to the Getty Research Institute to see their special collections. Their materials included an early (1524) European publication of Cortés’s letters informing King Ferdinand of the conquest of the Aztec Empire, a rare Mozarabic liturgy from eighteenth-century Mexico, and an 1832 edition of Antonio de León y Gama’s 1792 Descripción histórica y cronológica de las dos piedras… featuring one of the earliest print reproductions of the famous Aztec calendar unearthed in Mexico City in 1790. We also had time to enjoy the gardens and to take in two exhibits that were tangentially relevant to the course, one about medieval illuminated manuscripts and the other about printed images of Louis XIV’s France.
Visiting multiple collections allowed us to view multiple editions or copies of books and to note the differences between them. For example, we saw how the engraved foldout image of the funeral monument described in Alejo de Alvitez’s Puntual descripción, funebre lamento, y sumptuoso túmulo, de la regiadoliente pompa (Lima, 1757) had been produced poorly in the Getty’s copy of the book versus the clean reproduction that made it into the copy Szewczyk had for sale. In addition we got to see up close the details that allow us to identify woodblock, copper plate, or lithographic reproductions of images, discern between type and other means of producing letters, and examine various sorts of bindings, from cheap contemporary loose vellum covers to deluxe gold-embossed Morocco binding from the 19th Century. These experiences will prove invaluable, whether we are helping patrons working with original printed materials or evaluating facsimile or digital reproductions. And of course, we made time to catch up with our SALALM compañeros, touring the HAPI offices and grabbing lunch with Orchid Mazurkiewicz and Daniel Schoorl, and catching up with Jennifer Osorio over drinks and snacks after class. It was a fantastic experience intellectually and socially, and we will take the skills and connections we made with us as we continue our work into the future.
For me, attending SALALM LX was an invaluable professional experience. I was able to get a real sense for how the organization functions, the important work that SALALMistas do, and how I could apply my own skills to contribute to the field in the future.
I attended many of the committee meetings during the initial days of the conference and I found this introduction to be extremely informative. Before attending SALALM, I had only a vague idea of what SALALM members did. I thought the job simply consisted of collecting Spanish-language resources, when in reality it entails a high degree of critical thinking and strategic planning. For example, in the SIS meeting (formerly ISIS), we discussed how materials related to the “15 de Mayo” movement in Spain would soon be in high demand as members of that movement rise to positions of national power and influence. We also discussed possible collaborations with other organizations with similar agendas (Association of Contemporary Iberian Studies) as well as ongoing projects to which and from which SIS could contribute and learn (Spanish Immigrants in the United States). In the LANE meeting, members discussed the BorrowDirect Consortium and their collaborative efforts to collect materials from different regions in Brazil, while LASER members considered their plans to enhance collections of indigenous-language materials between their respective institutions. In the LAMP and LAARP meetings, I heard compelling appeals for funding for a variety of important projects, and it was in these meetings that I grasped the real significance of SALALM-funded initiatives to both current research and the historical record. At the same time, I learned how these committees make difficult but necessary funding decisions. Finally, at the Research and Instruction Services meeting, it was refreshing to hear panel members discuss the future of libraries with particular regard to “internationalization” and creating university courses based on library resources.
The panel sessions proved equally informative. I learned about the new initiatives and directions in Latin American librarianship from a host of participants from all over the world. In many cases, I also witnessed enriching exchanges of ideas as presenters discussed projects undertaken at their respective institutions and received feedback and questions from their peers. It was encouraging to see the high level of interest expressed by panel attendees and it truly felt like a mutually beneficial learning experience for all involved. I was also thrilled to hear the keynote presentation by Lilia Moritz Schwarcz, whose ideas about the symbolic power of libraries tie into my own dissertation research.
Of the numerous advantages of SALALM attendance, the opportunity to meet and learn from other SALALM members surely ranks among the best. I met so many welcoming, knowledgeable, and conscientious people at SALALM LX. In our conversations I learned about the professional responsibilities of Latin American librarianship, potential job openings in the future, as well as how to best position myself as a candidate for those jobs upon completing my Ph.D. and MLIS. I found that I could comfortably approach all SALALM members and everyone was more than happy to talk to me about their jobs and learn about my own training and experiences. I was fortunate enough to talk with some experienced SALALM members in addition to some newer members, both of whom offered different and valuable perspectives on the organization and the field in general. I also met many of the book vendors from Latin America and elsewhere with whom I hope to work someday.
To conclude, I feel very fortunate to have attended SALALM LX. As I near the end of my graduate career and consider the looming job market, it is encouraging to know that an organization like SALALM exists, one in which I can effectively utilize my particular skill set and training in efforts to improve research and access to Latin American resources. After the warm reception and rewarding conversations I had at SALALM, I definitely plan on returning to future conferences and I sincerely hope to one day contribute to the organization as a full-fledged member from a participating institution.
This year I had the privilege of being one of three SALALM Conference Attendance Scholarship recipients to attend SALALM’s 60th conference at Princeton University. There I was exposed to a dynamic and energizing group of engaged professionals who are passionate about what they do. I can only describe this feeling as contagious. This year’s theme, Brazil in the World, the World in Brazil: Research Trends and Library Resources, was a treat for me as a Brazilianist, beginning with the keynote address by Brazilian scholar Lilia Moritz Schwarcz. Similarly, sessions that focused on Brazilian collections and librarianship in Brazil bridged my interests in Brazil as my area of research and my current work as an MLS student and future librarian.
The session “Legacy Collections of Brasiliana” was an opportunity to learn about collections in the US and in Brazil and the current challenges and future projects of two important Brasiliana collections, The Oliveira Lima Library at Catholic University and the Biblioteca Brasiliana Mindlin at the Universidade de São Paulo. The panel “Brazilian Culture and Society in North American Library Collections” focused, among other things, on the space that Brazilian collections have within the larger academic library setting. “Building Latin American Collections in the 21st Century: Emerging Trends and Challenges” provided practical approaches and theoretical reflections on the ways in which academic libraries acquire materials. Jennifer Osorio’s talk “Serials Acquisitions in the Digital ‘Future’”: If It’s All Online, What’s the Problem?” posed interesting questions on the publication trends in Latin America and how “lesser known” serials make it (or not) to larger academic libraries in the US.
The panels “Digital Curation of Archival and Ephemeral Collections: Enhancing Access and Discovery” and Debra McKern’s presentation “Brazil’s Popular Groups: Acquiring the Gray Literature Collection at the Library of Congress”, as well as the presentation by members of the Library of Congress’ Hispanic Division on web archiving and the digital access to the library’s collections was an excellent opportunity to learn about collections I was not familiar with and the different ways in which librarians collaborate with professionals in information technology to make these collections available to the public. I was particularly intrigued by the interest in ephemera and the way in which these materials are collected in Latin America.
Committee and business meetings were excellent opportunities to learn how an organization like SALALM works. I especially enjoyed the LAMP and LAARP meetings where different librarians presented new or ongoing projects related to preservation and open access.
Networking is probably the easiest part to do at SALALM and the “buddy system” was a good way to help students navigate their first conference. I am fortunate to count on several seasoned salalmistas as mentors and friends: Barbara Álvarez, Paloma Celis Carbajal and Adán Griego have been pivotal throughout my academic pursuits offering guidance and sound advice. I look forward to calling them and others my colegas as I join the ranks. On July 27th I will begin an appointment as Reference Librarian in the Hispanic Division at the Library of Congress where I hope I can contribute to vitality of our profession and to the future of SALALM.
University of Maryland, College Park
Attending the SALALM conference at Princeton exposed me to current issues facing Latin American librarianship and connected me with a large network of professionals from around the globe. While there, I maintained a busy schedule beginning with the opening session where Lilia Moritz Schwarcz delivered her keynote address. During the rest of my time, I attended two receptions, the book exhibit, a town hall meeting, a rare book and manuscript demonstration at Firestone library, and various panels, which constituted the nuts and bolts of the conference.
The panels highlighted several issues, including digital resource access and collaboration, collection development trends, and new research. At one panel, presenters shared current programs aimed at the digitization of primary sources. The British Library, the Oliveira Lima Library, and Brown University all maximize their efforts by collaborating with national and international partners, and by using innovative techniques, like crowdsourcing to provide descriptive metadata. Debra McKern, from the Library of Congress, Rio de Janeiro Office, explicated their methods in acquiring ephemera from Brazil’s popular groups, such as recent World Cup protest flyers. In another panel, Peter Altekrüger explained how the Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut manages to maintain their duplicate exchange program with over 500 partners!
In a presentation featuring scholars’ perspectives, Stanley J. Stein recounted his first research trip to Brazil and his methodology as he worked with ex-slave informants in the coffee-growing region of Vassouras. At one of the final panels, Ricarda Musser detailed the wealth of information found in German immigration guides to Brazil, and how she is uncovering new research avenues for scholars, while Daniel Schoorl presented literature on Arab ethnicity in Brazil, highlighting key sources, such as early twentieth-century Arabic newspapers.
During my spare time, I connected with fellow attendees. I lunched with other library science students at Tico’s Juice Bar in downtown Princeton where we discussed our favorite panels and shared our professional endeavors. On another occasion, I savored a cool beverage at Small World Coffee alongside current SALALM librarians who traded stories about their job experiences, past and present. And as a first-time visitor, I enjoyed exploring or, rather, getting lost on Princeton’s beautiful campus. Princeton’s reception at the Prospect House, once home to President Woodrow Wilson, featured delicious food and beverage offerings. Along with a friend, I explored the house’s numerous rooms and countless portraits. The Libreros’ Reception the following evening took place in a grand hall where the music, dancing, and new friends made for a memorable experience.
I sincerely thank SALALM for the opportunity to attend this year’s conference. I would also like to send a special thank you to Paula Covington, who encouraged my scholarship application and who continues to serve as a dedicated mentor. A warm thank you also goes to Ruby Gutierrez and AJ Johnson, who imparted some great conference tips and advice! I look forward to continuing my pursuit of academic librarianship with a focus on Latin America, continuing my growth as a scholar of library studies, and taking part in future SALALM activities.
University of California, Los Angeles
The couple next to me cannot contain their enthusiasm: Chile’s has won the Copa America. “I also had to watch the game in English,” says the LAN flight attendant, equally excited. I don’t want to ruin their festive moment with a comment on the dark history of the national stadium where the game was played, also used as mass detention center in the early days of the Pinochet dicatatorship.
Instead, I tell them I saw the results online while preparing for a trip to Lima’s Peru Service Summit that would match local publishers and software developers (among others) to meet with potential compradores. It’s not the first time that librarians have been labeled as buyers, as much as we would like to be known as agentes culturales, or profesionales de la informacion, maybe even intermediarios del conocimiento.
It’s been more than ten years since my last visit to Lima, which now-a-days seems to be a top culinary destination, according reports as varied as a business daily, and even a men’s magazine.
The morning will start in the Miraflores section of the Peruvian capital with a tour by a local limeña. She understands my bibliographic obsessions. The first visit will be to Promsex: Centro de Promocion y Defensa de los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos, a well-established NGO that has issued several reports on women’s reproductive rights and LGBT issues. Their publications are now fully available online and are deposited at the country’s national library, much like any other local print publication with an ISBN. The limited print run of 500 copies is also distributed throughout the country, reaching those areas with limited internet access. We meet one of the group’s leaders who shares our concern for documenting the history of LGBT groups and other like entities.
The next stop will be the iconic El Virrey bookshop. My friend asks about some recent publications: Crónicas de la diversidad and Dulce Fanzin. The sales clerk recognized the first one, but the other one appears to have a somewhat erratic distribution, although it’s already been noted by other online publications. He directs us to La Libre, a book shop at Barranco, on the other side of town. Not wanting to wear out my host, I opt to come back later. I can spend hours on end, but there are more pressing matters, like a much deserved lunch break.
In search of a well-known restaurant, which is closed on Mondays, of course, we opted for another one across the street. There were only two tables left so the food must be good. The traditional lomo saltado, even with my dislike for onions, turned out to be as tasty as the one prepared by a good Peruvian friend back in California, “with the secret sazón of my grandmother,” she always noted.
The recent New York Times 36 hours travel section includes Barranco as one of the must-visit sections of Lima. We arrive one day too late, the independent presses have just had their first book fair and the bookshop we are searching for is closed on Mondays! What are we to do? Un buen cafecito…of course!
My friend suggests a traditional Barranco locale, where I ask for a café con leche. The owner says they don’t serve such a thing, nada mas café solo, he clariefies! That other one can be found by the opposite side of the park, without naming the well-known American chain with an “S.” Not my idea to savor something local, but we find a most unexpected place at an old train car converted into a coffee shop/restaurant where they do have café con leche.
The afternoon will end with a visit to Librería Inestable, already highlighted by Spain’s daily El País. I select several poetry chapbooks, some of which are missing a price. Since the owner is out of town, I will have to return a few days later.
For the next book hunting recorrido there will be three of us, Teresa Chapa (UNC-Chapel Hill) and Phil MacLeod (Emory), starting at Sur. We probably drove the sales clerk crazy with so many questions. The young man answered politely and patiently before we left, each with at least a book bag.
From there it would be to Barranco again, and La Libre has just opened for business. We spoke each other’s language…ours was probably their best sale ever. Hopefully it helped make up for the loss from a break-in of a few weeks earlier.
A Lima visit could not be complete without cebiche, and that was our next stop: Canta Rana just around the corner. Some local friends had other suggestions but that day we were lucky that Phil Macleod went ahead of us to get a table because there was already a growing line to find a seat. Even our lunch hour could not be complete without some book business. We were joined by the publisher of Paracaídas Editores. He was probably not expecting to sell all his books in one seating! Thanks to fellow SALALM member José Ignacio Padilla for the contact.
We are already running late for our next appointment on the other side of town at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos where fellow SALALM librarian Virginia García is awaiting us. They also have a bookshop! From there, the taxi will bring us back to Miraflores to Contracultura, a graphic novel paradise where we will add more book bags. It’s past 7pm and the traffic is already heavy, if not would have visited one more shop before calling it a day.
Tomorrow is the start of two intense days of meetings with publishers at the Peru Service Summit. There will be the usual question about buying directly from a publisher and our explanation on the added services that a distributor can provide. Of course, there are always discoveries, like another independent press, with a most suggestive name Animal de invierno…or the press with profusely illustrated texts that are more than just another coffee table book.
Before embarking on the long flight back to California, there would be one more stop at our distributor’s office to review books not sent via our approval plan and check on new publishers discovered through a few days of book hunting in Lima. Both Teresa Chapa and Phil MacLeod will stay longer and visited a book shop recommended by Virgina at the Instituo de Estudios Peruanos. Communitas was not too far from our hotel and they both went on the day I was heading to the airport through an unending sea of Friday afternoon traffic. I am sure they will report on their treasure hunt!
Stanford University Libraries.