More than 20,000 book professionals descended into Guadalajara for a peregrinación del mundo del libro, as Madrid’s daily El País called the Feria del Libro (FIL). It is indeed a pilgrimage to the most important book event in the Spanish-speaking world, and there we were, over 100 librarians in the middle of it all!
For the second time in FIL’s 28 years Argentina was the featured country, bringing celebrations of Julio Cortazar’s centennial and homages to Juan Gelman and the ever-present Jorge Luis Borges. At a round table discussion on the author of Ficciones his widow commented on the most peculiar meeting of Mick Jagger (from the Rolling Stones) and Borges.
On opening day I overheard a group of students looking for Alfaguara, which in previous years had one of the largest FIL stands. I told them it was now part of Planeta. When I realized it was the wrong multinational publisher I chased after them to give the correct answer. Never say that accurate reference was lacking on a weekend! Off they went, to the Penguin Random House booth.
Another novedad at the exhibit hall was a more visible stand for Ediciones Era, one of Mexico’s leading independent publishers. True to its progressive voice, photos of the recently disappeared 43 student teachers and the words of David Huerta’s moving poem Ayotzinapa , were a constant reminder of a tragedy that has sparked civil society demonstrations all over Mexico. See English-language version.
In fact, that most tragic incident called the attention of the featured country’s delegation of artists, writers and publishers, which issued a statement of solidarity for the missing students. There was also a demonstration that left from the Fair to join another group at one of the main public spaces in Guadalajara. I was returning from an artist book exhibit downtown and was caught in the ensuring traffic jam. “Están en todo su derecho”, I remarked, when the taxi driver appeared impatient. “If our children were missing, we would be equally upset,” I added. The taxista agreed.
The many events held at FIL : (presentaciones de libro, foros, encuentros, congresos) included an homenaje to this year’s Librarian (Elsa Margarita Ramírez Leyva) and Bibliophile (Juan Nicanor Pascoe Pierce). Pascoe’s Taller Martín Pescador is familiar to many Special Collections in North America.
There was also a session with a literary translator, a vendor and a librarian (ME) to learn about publishing in the United States. For the section on libraries as a market for Spanish-language books I discussed distribution channels and differences in bibliographic materials acquired by academic and public libraries.
Special coverage from El País
*FIL logo (Feria Internacional del Libro)
*Jesus Alonso Regalado (Edicione Era stand)
Adan Griego, Stanford University Libraries.
Last Wednesday, November 16, ALA’s International Relations Office and SALALM jointly hosted the first ever Feria Internacional del Libro (FIL) Orientation webinar for first-time attendees and FIL Free Pass Program recipients. The webinar was led by SALALM member and Stanford librarian Adan Griego. The ten-day book fair, which is held in Guadalajara, Mexico, will be celebrating its 25th birthday later this month.
The hour-long webinar was roughly comprised of 40 minutes of presentation and 20 minutes of Q&A. The session opened with a brief history of FIL and an orientation to the city of Guadalajara. Then, Griego quickly moved on to describe the kinds of questions book fair attendees need to address before embarking on a book buying trip: the characteristics of the users they serve, how their libraries handle international purchasing and shipping, which vendors – in the US or Latin America – they intend to use, if any. Griego explained how sorting out these details ahead of time will prevent headaches later on when attendees are surrounded by thousands of other FIL visitors. Next, Griego described the state of the publishing industry in Latin America, emphasizing the challenges presented by large media conglomerates and small print runs in order to help illustrate the advantages of physically attending and purchasing books at the book fair. Finally, the orientation finished with a virtual tour of the convention center and the resources available to librarians visiting from the United States. After this “tour,” the 44 attendees asked questions – by phone or through chat.
The session was informative but focused, neatly tailored to address the needs of attendees who may have never gone on a book-buying trip before or may not feel comfortable with their command of the Spanish language. This webinar assuaged these anxieties, and its online format lent the advantage of providing an orientation before attendees arrived to Guadalajara. Griego also offers an in-person orientation once librarians arrive to Guadalajara, but the online orientation allows librarians to plan and prepare for the conference ahead of time and maximize their trip to its fullest.
The webinar was hosted through iLinc, provided and supported by the ALA’s International Relations office.
Stanford University Libraries & Academic Information Resources’ Department of Special Collections and the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley are among seven institutions that will be honored for outstanding exhibition publications at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans this June.
The print catalogue Celebrating Mexico: The Grito de Dolores and the Mexican Revolution, 1810|1910|2010, a collaboration between Stanford University Libraries and the Bancroft, is the winner in Division Two of the 2011 Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab “American Book Prices Current” Exhibition Awards. Awards were announced in the April 26th edition of ALA News. The catalog is available for sale from Stanford (http://library.stanford.edu/depts/spc/pubs/orderform_new.html) and from the Bancroft Library.
“This volume celebrating the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution is also an implicit celebration of inter-institutional collaboration,” said Molly Schwartzburg, chair of the RBMS Exhibition Awards committee and Cline Curator of Literature at the University of Texas at Austin’s Harry Ransom Center. “Documenting concurrent exhibitions mounted at the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University, it reveals to audiences the complementary resources of these institutions through twin checklists and essays by library staff and faculty at both universities. Bilingual text—in English and Spanish—makes the volume accessible to a wide audience, and a careful integration of text, images and the checklist offers readers a fully unified reading experience. Richly illustrated with extensive commentary, the volume serves not just to document the exhibitions but to provide an excellent introduction to the Mexican Revolution more generally. The use of historic typefaces and colorful section dividers throughout the volume confirms the volume’s welcoming, celebratory success.”
The full press release is posted here.
Adan Griego curated the 2010 exhibition at Stanford’s Green Library. Becky Fischbach designed and produced the exhibition and catalogue. Theresa Salazar and Jack von Euw curated the exhibition at the Bancroft Library. Adan Griego and Randal Brandt from the Bancroft will represent their respective libraries in accepting the award certificate on Sunday, June 26, during the RBMS Membership Meeting and Information Exchange.
A dozen SALALM members attended ALA’s annual conference in New Orleans this past June. The group’s presence was felt at an ideally located booth, which had a definite local flair with beads and other colorful adornments. The stand was ready for visitors on Friday (6/24) and closed on Monday (6/27).
The day before (6/23) SALALM and other library groups/associations participated in the 2011 Spectrum Institute Professional Options Fair organized by ALA’s Diversity Office and sponsored by OCLC Inclusion Initiative. The event hosted more than 100 current MLS students from Library Schools all over the country. Hortensia Calvo and I talked to about 20 of these Spectrum Scholars who saw the words “Latin America” at our table.
Our collective presence at the exhibit hall made possible a visit to the aisle hosting several library schools. Hortensia and I met several of the representatives and gave them informational handouts about SALALM, ALZAR and ISIS. Some knew we existed, and for others we were a new group on their radar screen. SALALM members at institutions with MLIS program are encouraged to ensure not only that our informational materials are visible to students but to “insinuate” ourselves as Latin American Studies Librarianship ambassadors to any job fair events for information professionals.
The conference also provided opportunities to learn about new products. Hortensia, Sean Knwolton and I were at a presentation where Oxford Bibliographies Online showcased their upcoming Latin American Studies file. I asked about pricing models and noted that the traditional formula of all campus FTE was not applicable for a product that would have a much more reduced number of users. A few days earlier I had expressed that same concern to another vendor of Spanish language ebooks. This issue was also raised at an ebook panel at Philadelphia’s SALALM conference. Vendors appear to understand that a different pricing model is needed and it’s really up to us to come up with a well documented alternative.
Thanks to all those who volunteered: Myra Appel, Roberto Delgadillo, Tony Harvell, Deb Raftus, John Wright, Sean Knowlton, Denise Stuempfle, Cecilia Sercán, and Michael Scott. Very special thanks to Hortensia Calvo and Carol Avila from SALALM’s Executive Secretariat who covered much of the three days of the exhibit.
Sunday, April 19th. Not too much traffic on Avenida del Libertador yet. It is, after all, barely past noon on a Sunday. “Lindo dia,” I say to the taxi driver, “es un domingo peronista,” he replies. When I ask why, he proceeds to tell me how politicians used to gather after a typical Sunday “asado” and some good Argentine wine, to plot “como joder al pais…” then adds, “como los de ahora…” Who would have thought that simple weather question would uncover such deep political sentiments, which appear to have been building up for some time now.
Soon we arrived at my destination, the Recoleta section of Buenos Aires, probably best known for the cemetery where Evita’s tomb is located and home to a home of trendy shops, restaurants, and museums. A few Salamistas are in town already for the annual book fair and I have just run into Alfonso Vijil, later that afternoon we will run into the Karnos at the Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Isaac Fernandez Blanco
I will have my yearly dose of “asado” before visiting the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes for an exhibit on Martin Fierro, the 1920’s avant garde publication. Wondering through the exhibit, I cannot help to think about a forthcoming event in California where Stanford and Berkeley will host a joint exhibit in September 2010 to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Bicentennial and the 100th Anniversary of the Revolution. My ongoing dreams about Pancho Villa, Emilino Zapata, and independence heroes Vicente Guerrero and Xavier Mina are a constant reminder that the due date approaches. At least mine are “heroic dreams,” not nightmares.
Monday, April 20th. This morning Phil MacLeod (Emory University) and I will follow a “recorrido libresco” up Avenida Corrientes home to many a bookstore. A pre-book fair outing that will supplement what awaits us the next day. It’s more manageable to visit “librerías” that carry the kind of materials of interest to an academic audience like ours.
Asunto Impreso’s Librería de la Imagen appears to be closer to our hotel than in previous years, perhaps is the pleasant weather that makes the recorrido seem less cumbersome. Along the way we stop by the place where last year I found the movie outlet Blackman, familiar to us all for it’s wide selection of Argentine films. But the office is closed (it’s past 11:30am and there is no indication of when it will open).
When we arrive the art bookstore, Alfonso Vijil is just leaving and points to the new women’s bookstore next door. It’s the one familiar to SALALM members from its previous location on same street where the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo also have their coffee/book shop.
I alert Phil that books will all be wrapped in plastic and we’ll have to ask the staff to unwrap them. Surprisingly, not all of them are and we are able to browse at the “novedades” shelf with much ease. Perhaps the publisher headed my plea a few months ago at the Bogotá book fair when I complained, actually, suggested that at least an “ejemplar de muestra” be available.
I jotted down several titles, and purchased one for the library the bilingual book *Arte naïf : libros de notas : una visión poética de la vida : 34 artistas Argentinos (OCLC: 47841717), although this is a special edition in a case and with some original prints.
For my own collection I purchase: *Body Politics. Políticas del cuerpo en la fotografía latino-americana (OCLC: 495778935); and *Desnudos sudamericanos (OCLC: 516281697), which appears to be available also as a photo portfolio, but that’s beyond my budget. A set of the photos has been on exhibit in Los Angeles until just a few days ago.
We now move next door to the women’s bookshop, where I take down many more titles, which I will have to reconstruct from memory since I lost my ubiquitous notebook on the last day of the fair!
On the way back to the hotel, I recognize the restaurant where last year Teresa Chapa (UNC-Chapel Hill) and I had our very own “comida casera,” It’s just before the lunch rush hour and we go in for an early meal so that we can make it on time for the matinee showing of this years Oscar winner for best foreign film, EL Secreto de tus ojos, which just a few days ago has opened in selected cities in the United States.
For dinner I will meet a friend from my UC-Santa Barbara days. He lives in the northern section of Belgrano and does not teach on Mondays and has agreed to meet me for an early dinner, early for him, but way too late for me at 8:30pm.
Tuesday, April 21st. Today will be the second part of our “paseo imperdible” up Avenida Corrientes, this time all the way to the Callao intersection….looking for…..books, what else. The vibrant publishing industry of Buenos Aires has been recognized by the Ministerio de Desarrollo Económico not only as a worthy enterprise but also one of commercial value celebrated with a “Noche de Librerías”.
Our first stop will be Antigona, which has expanded into the Centro Cultural de la Cooperación that houses a series of performance spaces and a coffee shop. We spend most of the morning there, probably annoying other customers with our constant “have you seen this book? And this other one?” But, Phil will have to fill in the blanks…. my notes are gone in that notebook I lost on my last day at the book fair.
After lunch, I take a well deserved rest and catch up reading the dailies I have accumulated during the past 48 hours: La Nación, The Buenos Aires Herald and the Argentine edition of Spain’s El País. There is already some press coverage of the book fair that opens the next day, one day shorter for the “días de profesionales,” but still 3 weeks for the general public.
Wednesday, April 22nd. Our visit to the fair grounds at La Rural will start with an early bus ride at 8:30am. The group of 7 Reforma and SALALM librarians and a few other US distributors is being generously supported by Fundacion ExportAr. After a brief meeting/reception with book fair dignitaries, some of us will hit the aisles, while others will meet publishers. Our task for the next 2 days will be, “comprar, mucho, pero mucho” as we have been instructed by our hosts,
During one of the first meetings with publishers when I explained that we work with distributors, he gave me a copy of booklet on the Editores del Plata, which brings together several independent publishers in an attempt to compete with both large publishers and distributors.
Thursday, April 23rd. Today will be a continuation of the previous day, meeting with publishers, visiting stands, check the OPAC…. While visiting the almost hidden section that housed the combined regional Argentine research centers I saw fellow SALALMista Peter Alterkrüger from Berlin’s Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut. He did not see me until the following day when I was madly in search of my lost notebook.
To end the evening it will be dinner with one of SALALAM’s vendors in Uruguay (Luis and Carlos Retta). They seem to have convinced Colombian vendor Angela Silva Castillo (Siglo del Hombre) to attend the upcoming Brown conference this July. She already who knows several SALALMistas from the Bogota and Guadalajara book fairs.
Friday, April 23th. Last day, which we know share with the general public. I am seated by the Clarín stand, which competes with La Nación, not only for daily readers but also for space at the fair main entrance. I am joined at my table by a pair of older ladies with whom I share my copy of La Nacion’s literary supplement, adn Cultura “lo importante es leer, no importa que sea de la competencia,” says one of them. When I ask what time it is, the other one shows me her watch and says, “elije vos a tu gusto,” the same response she got from a youngster when she asked the same question. It’s almost 6pm and the closing reception for “Profesionales” is about to start, so I bid my farewell to them as they join the thousands of “porteños” who have come to “curiosear,” through all the many aisles overflowing with books.
Saturday, April 24th. One last minute visit will be to a DVD store that sells a variety of Argentine films. We thought they opened at 10am and arrived promptly at 10:05. When the sales clerk arrived at 10:15 and saw 2 SALAMistas and 1 Reformista, I thought he would close the door and wait until 10:30. But he welcomed us inside the small locale. Little did he know that we would drive him crazy: me asking for the same movies that Phil had bought a few days earlier and Alfonso Vijil saying he also wanted a set…plus a few more he needed.
If my Buenos Aires trip started with a visit to a museum, it was very fitting that it should end with a similar visit, to the MALBA’s show on art of the Cuban avant garde. I had no more room in my carry on luggage, so I exercised restraint while visiting the museum bookshop. Besides, I was already late for the hotel check out and would be heading for the airport soon.
As I mentioned earlier, I lost my notebook with multiple book titles and diary entries, but here are some titles of interest. For public and academic libraries:
*Editorial Capital Intelectual
El Atlas III: Un mundo al revés. De la hegemonía occidental al policentrismo. It’s part of series that includes Atlas de las religiones (OCLC: 497187406, already at Los Angeles Public Library); and Atlas del Medio Ambiente. They are translated from the French by Le Monde Diplomatique and can be a good reference source.
*Editorial el Maizal has a series of books on various aspects of Argentine life: tango, wines, gauchos as well two others on native Mapuche culture
*From La Marca Editores the Registro Gráfico series includes some bilingual titles that supplement those from Maizal above.
*Editorial Heliasta has several dictionaries on law and business, some bilingual (see the diccionarios section at their site)
*Retina Editores has an interesting book, Potrero, on soccer culture in Argentina’s working class neighborhoods (OCLC: 271111308).
For Academic Libraries:
From Retina Editores,
SANGRE/ BLOOD: Buenos Aires – Rio de Janeiro -México DF – Medellín (by Diego Levy) documents violence throughout some of the major metropolitan areas in Latin America.
Poesía diaria: porque el silencio es mortal (a series of “desaparecido” notices that appeared in the daily Página 12, OCLC: 213098498)
From Editorial Aquilina
A series of detective fiction titles seemed to be of potential interest to our literary clientele, especially 1-2 graphic novels. A virtual browsing through their recent published titles is possible, giving it “hip” sense of it all, right?
You can also see read some of the “prensa” generated by this new/independent publisher.
Photo of SALAMistas courtesy of Luis Retta.
L-r: Phil Mcleod, Carlos Retta, Adan Griego, Alfonso Vijil, Luis Retta and Angela Silva Castillo.
Closing reception photo courtesy of Maria Kramer (Redwood City Public Library, California)