Posts Tagged ‘Adán Griego’
It was only fitting that over 30 SALALM librarians (and vendors) would be among the many profesionales del libro participating in what has become the most important book event in the Spanish-speaking world: the 30th Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL).
While welcoming speeches at FIL’s opening ceremony were taking place, I visited Mexico’s Ministry of Education stand where one of the staff reiterated that textbooks currently in use in the country’s primary schools were available to libraries from Mexican consular offices in the United States. Some are quite popular at our Education Library. The most recent editions now include the iconic image I remember from my first grade class in a rural school in Northern Mexico.
A few days later, at a lunch with several local colleagues, I shared my hope that libraries and books would become a more constant presence in the everyday life of the country’s school-age children, more than they were for me 50 years earlier. Mexico continues to lag behind other Latin American countries on the number of books an average citizen reads per year. A recent news article notes a similar deficiency: 92% of Mexico’s municipalities have a library, but many are in poor condition.
Only a few steps away I found a young adult book on Friday Kahlo I had seen at LIBER-Barcelona a few week earlier, certainly of interest to general and scholarly audiences. In fact, there is quite a variety of original children’s literature in Spanish from publishers like CIDCLI, Tecolote or Ekaré for a project worthy of our academic libraries: collecting a representative sample of this vibrant publishing output.
I always look forward to the Artes de México stand for a colorful display of original arts and crafts adorning its well-known bilingual monographic issues (on food, religion, art, etc.) and this year it did not disappoint: a life size model of two luchadores to showcase its recent books on wrestling was very popular. I first encountered lucha libre at a relative’s home in the neighboring town where I grew up. The small black and white screen would become alive when a man with a bow tie announced: “en esta esquina…” The good guys were Santo, Blue Demon, Mil Máscaras and Huracán Ramírez, battling long-haired malevolent-looking characters. Another set worthy of public and academic library collections.
Although the book fair brings many popular titles, there is also plenty of scholarly material. One of this year’s many novedades was the facsimile reprint of Machete, the short lived publication of Mexico’s Communist Party from the early 1980s, complemented by free publications from the the national election commission or the Jalisco electoral institute. I almost missed the print report on the 2014 Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College massacre, also freely available, at the collective stand of the Jesuit institutions in Mexico
The International pavilion has expanded and included the Área de Libro Electrónico with presentations on recent e-book developments. There were also publisher associations (cámaras/gremios) from Latin America and Spain. For me the most exciting aisle was “JJ,” covering LGBT, poetry, or hand made books.
FIL offers competing events, both onsite and at various venues throughout the city: book launching ceremonies, live performances, films, museum exhibits and conferences like the Coloquio Internacional de Bibliotecarios. This year some SALALM members participated with very well received presentations (yes, I heard it from multiple sources). And, if anyone ever wanted proof of other activities behind the scenes, just ask Wisconsin’s Latin American librarian about packing over a dozen boxes of books! Jesús Alonso Regalado (pictured above at UNAM’s stand) has also documented his detailed FIL experience purchasing-packing-shipping materials.
It’s common practice at book fairs to have a “guest of honor” (a country, or a city). This year it was Latin America and Madrid will be featured for 2017, just in case you want to plan ahead.
As the popular tango notes, “…20 años no es nada…” so too, we can say about FIL “…30 años no es nada…” with best wishes for many more years.
1) Jesús Alonso Regalado-University at Albany, SUNY.
2) Perez, Sébastien & Benjamin Lacombe. Frida. Madrid: Edelvives, 2016.
3) Lucha Libre-Artes de México photo by Marisol Ramos, University of Connecticut.
4) Paloma Celis Carbajal and Nora Díaz. University of Wisconsin-Madison.
5) FIL image
Adan Griego, Curator for Latin American, Mexican American and Iberian Collections.
Stanford University Libraries.
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.
Macondo, that mythical place created by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and to which all of Latin America can claim as its own, was the invitado de honor at this year’s FilBo or the 28th International Bogota Book Fair.
One of the Fair’s peculiarities is that several publishers have a stand in more than one pabellón, at times confusing but often useful as items on display suit the intended audience (infantil, universidades, etc).
Overrun by teenagers and housing comic books and alternative graphic designers, Pabellón 1 seemed the place to be. Not sure if it was intentional but the religious publisher Ediciones Paulinas had a stand there as well, something worthy of magical Garcia Marquez capricho! Gabo himself would probably have responded to an upset visitor who noted: “that book is obscene,” referring to a hand-made/fanzine-like booklet with some erotic photos: algunos libros no pecan, pero incomodan.
Pabellón 3 housed not only university presses, independent publishers and some government agencies whose publications are not available for commercial distribution (Instituto Humboldt, Centro Nacional de Memoria Histórica) and the word library/librarian was key in getting a copy. For a country hoping to bring an end to decades of violence, the Unidad para la Atención y Reparación Integral a las Víctimas provided examples of tangible work in that healing process.
A year after his death, Garcia Marquez was present all over Filbo, beyond the special Macondo pabellón that hosted an exhibit of first editions of his works, panel discussions and a reading of the first chapter of One Hundred Years of Solitude. One of the panels included SALALM’s own José Montelongo discussing Gabo’s literary archives at the University of Texas.
The group of U.S. librarians hosted by FilBo could not be in better magical company as we made our way through the various pabellones.
While it may have sounded like a touch of magical realism, unfortunaley press reports noted that a first edition of Gabo’s best known works had been stolen from the special exhibit.
Adan Griego, Curator for Latin American Collections-Stanford University Libraries.
For most North American academic libraries Cuban books have taken a detour to Uruguay before arriving at our shelves. With changing relations between the United States and Cuba, there is already renewed scholarly interest in the Caribbean island. Hence a visit to the Montevideo bookshop where much of that research material is being sorted. Two days was barely sufficient to review missing titles from our collection. In the process, finding equally interesting research materials from other parts of Latin America.
The ferry across the Rio de la Plata was to take only two-hours, in the state of the art Papa Francisco Buquebus, prompting my Montevideo friends to call it a viaje santo. It was much longer and I missed a visit to the San Telmo open air market in Buenos Aires, where every visitor to the Argentine capital appears to end up on a late Sunday morning. Several years ago I found a vintage photo of 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.
The hotel is a few blocks away from that book corridor on Avenida Corrientes, between the Obelisk and Callao street, proof of what some press reports have noted : Buenos Aires has the highest person to bookstore ratio in the world.
What better way to spend a late autumnal afternoon than book-browsing. Last year, one of the first ones I saw was a book written by a friend. I could not bring myself to tell him it was on sale!
Even some of the side streets house book shops. The one-block Paseo Rivarola probably goes unnoticed by most visitors to Buenos Aires. In one of those symmetrical 1920 buildings is the Librería de Mujeres. I ring the doorbell and an older lady unlocks the door, immediately asking: Qué busca? I tell her I want to see everything. Still not quite convinced that a middle-aged man would find something of interest, she points to a few sections and off I go in my incessant note-taking of interesting book titles, until I realize I could take photos of several book covers at once and not have to worry about deciphering my less and less understandable handwriting.
The 41st Buenos Aires International Book Fair opens today and there is a sense of anticipation among the group of U.S. librarians attending this year. Prior to departing we received an avalanche of requests from publishers asking for a meeting. I opted to invite them to attend a session where we would explain the dynamics of book distribution and acquisition by public and academic libraries. They listened attentively to our presentation.
Large media groups command the most visible of the various pabellones, typical of any such event. But independent publishing seems to be alive and thriving in the Southern Cone (Todo libro [no] es politico; Sólidos Platónicos and Siete logos). It appears to be the same in Spain.
At a time when print publications struggle to stay afloat, it’s almost anachronistic to have a new cultural magazine aimed at the inmesa minoría, as the Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset would note. The recently launched Review: Revista de Libros, a Spanish translation of the New York Review of Books with original content in Spanish. The publisher says the premier issue has a print run of 15,000 copies and is selling well, even outside of Buenos Aires. During my long overnight trip back to the Northern hemisphere, while crossing the Equator, I will read a Spanish-version of Alma Guillermo Prieto’s piece on the disappeared Mexican student-teachers.
Waiting for the last connection of my flight to California I find one of the newspaper articles I saved from Argentine dailies: poetry appears to have as many readers as militants. Viva la poesía. Viva la Lectura. Vivan los Libros!
Adán Griego-Curator for Latin American Collections, Stanford University.
*Trip partially funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI and the Buenos Aires Book Fair.
To say that it was a manjar libresco would be an understatement: the 48th California Antiquarian Book Book Fair and the 2015 Artist Book Fair and Symposium, all within a few days, sometimes with overlapping schedules, was all a rare treat that only happens every other year in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Antiquarian Fair promised “collections and rare treasures of over 200 booksellers from 33 different countries…,” and indeed there were. On the high end, original manuscripts by Octavio Paz, or limited edition books with text by Pablo Neruda shared the exhibit hall with Latin American vintage travel brochures for as little as $35! One of the un-prized items was an oversize black and white photograph of Mexican revolutionaries witha semi-legible text: “V. Carranza.” The seller knew very little about the photograph until I gave some background. “If you have to ask how much it costs, you probably could not afford it,” I had been warned more than once by a veteran curator/librarian. The photo had no price tag and my friend was right!
Among the images of film celebrities there was a movie poster of Viva Zapata, which I used in class one year to point out Hollywood’s peculiar way of casting for the 1952 film, with a script written by John Steinbeck. I noted that Marlon Brando (Zapata) probably looked more like one of the students in class, while the real Zapata was most certainly darker than I. The student later thanked me in an evaluation for comparing him to such a handsome movie star!
The 5th Codex Artist Book Fair opened in the middle of a much needed rainstorm, no deterrent to the more than 1,100 enthusiastic attendees who showed up to admire the work of book artists from all over the world, with Latin America very well represented: from Lia-Libro de Artista, showcasing the work of 22 artists to Eckhard Froeschlin’s atelier in Matagalpa, Nicaragua or that of photographers like Jose Diniz (Brazil) and Patricia Lagarde (Mexico).
Books and art have often been a medium that brings attention to injustices and Codex 2015 was no exception. Mexican photographer Lorena Velázquez reminded us all of the recent disappearance of Ayotzinapa’s student teachers. The cartonero book makers were also present with a similar message clamoring for justice.
Human rights violations has also been the leit motif of CraftPressChile, with Indignity and Resistance as a third work in a series that keeps alive the memory of the desaparecidos and torturados during military rule in Chile.
The fairs were accompanied by a series of related events: an artist auction to raise funds for the families of the missing student teachers in Mexico or an exhibit on the art of Taller de Gráfica Popular artist Elizabeth Catlett catered to various audiences.
The Codex Artist Book Symposium featured author and essayist Alberto Manguel as main speaker. His early evening talk at the Book Club of California (A City Built on Books: Pedro de Mendoza and the Founding of Buenos Aires), was the right excuse to leave work early and the charla did not disappoint.
Adan Griego, Curator for Latin American Collections-Stanford University.
*Lorena Velázquez and Ayotzinapa photo by Yulia Akh
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.
- Adán Griego, Curator for Iberoamerican and Mexican American Collections at Stanford University
The Latino population in our country is growing and, with it, the demand for culturally relevant information. Library users in academic and public libraries want more materials about Latin American and Latino issues – especially from the perspective of those cultures. At the same time, libraries are facing difficult economic challenges, resulting in staff shortages and the necessity for some librarians to assume new roles and collect in subject areas and languages that are unfamiliar to them.
This 90-minute webinar
will address these concerns by providing tangible selection tools for collecting materials in Latin American and Latino Studies and Spanish Literature. Other discussion topics will include publishing trends and strategies for effectively using these resources regardless of Spanish-speaking ability. Tailored to the non-specialist and new professional, this webinar
is a must-see for anyone who wants to build her knowledge and confidence about collecting materials in these disciplines.
The session will be hosted by Adán Griego, Curator for Iberoamerican and Mexican American Collections at Stanford. Having held this position since 1996, Adán is always looking for those unique or rare items (photos, manuscripts, posters, books) that will enhance collections. A former president of SALALM, Adán is also a REFORMA life-time member and is active in ALA. This webinar is co-sponsored by SALALM and the ALA International Relations Office.
- Alvaro Risso, Hortensia Calvo, and Adán Griego.
Our very own Adán Griego (Stanford University), Hortensia Calvo (Tulane University), and Alvaro Risso (Librería Linardi y Risso) have made the list of top 50 most influential professionals at the Buenos Aires Book Fair. Read more here.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Feria Internacional del Libro, Guadalajara, and to celebrate the occasion, groups of 25 professionals in several different fields were awarded honors. In the librarian category, our SALALM colleagues Adan Griego and Micaela Chávez Villa were among the 25 librarians from Mexico and the United States honored for their contributions to FIL over the past 25 years. The ceremony was held at the opening of the Coloquio Internacional de Bibliotecarios on November 28th (http://sdpnoticias.com/nota/243080/Reflexionan_sobre_el_papel_de_la_info…).
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
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.