At 26 you can claim a life of your own and Guadalajara’s 26th International Book Fair (FIL) has certainly lived up to that expectation, having been called the most important book event in the Spanish language by Spain’s leading daily El País, which carried a supplement dedicated to FIL events.
This year Chile was the featured country (also “honored” in 1999) and its book stand experienced such an avalanche of readers that by the second day a young writer said “I want to move to Mexico, here thye read my books,” pointing to her recent novel…clearly on the way to selling out.
Among the profesionales del libro were 100 librarians from the United States as part of the ALA-FIL Pass program, while fewer in numbers than in previous years, they were quite an enthusiastic group of book buyers. Jesus Alonso Regalado (SUNY-Albany) can probably claim to be the single most eager client: he acquired more than 100 new titles at the Chilean stand…and still had several days left!
As usual, the media conglomerates held the largest and most visible stands but there were also signs of other voices with Corredor Sur; Contrabandos; EGALES or Chile’s independent publishers and the more alternative Furia del Libro, all pointing to a segment of the book industry that struggles to remain competitive.
What was to have been a celebration of the literary prize awarded since 1992 became a cause célèbre: this year’s winner, Peruvian writer Alfredo Bryce Echenique, was accused of plagiarism. His name, while barely mentioned by organizers, still appeared in news coverage. With multiple events held in his honor, it almost felt as if the recently deceased Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes had been the winner. In fact, it was Fuentes who had calmed FIL’s boisterous crowd at the opening ceremony six years earlier as it booed the outgoing Minister of Culture.
The current Minister, Consuelo Saizar, has gained more respect than her predecessor. For a recent profile in the popular culture monthly Gatopardo, Saizar noted among her accomplishments the acquisition of personal libraries of several Mexican writers. These collections are housed in the Biblioteca de México “José Vasconcelos and are being made available to users in a state of the art facility similar to that of Guadalajara’s recently opened Biblioteca Pública del Estado de Jalisco “Juan José Arreola.”
This new Jalisco State Library has a capacity for 2 million volumes and among its holdings is the Benjamin Franklin collection of works on the United States. On FIL’s opening day, the United States ambassador presented a book donation to augment this collection at a ceremony attended by several REFORMA colleagues and I. This modest attempt at cultural diplomacy is noteworthy and could be replicated elsewhere, it costs so little and goes so far.
Librarians were not just book buyers: Paloma Celis Carbajal (Univ. of Wisconsin) participated on a panel discussion about the editoriales cartonersas; Patricia Figueroa (Brown University) was busy interviewing new writers for Nuevas Referencias, her bilingual blog; and I presented on
One of the local dailies misquoted some of my presentation but Milenio’s summary of the current e-book landscape in U.S. libraries and the need for additional Spanish language digital content was right on the mark.
I hope to continue presenting with humor and tono jocoso, as the Guadalajara daily complimented this humble experto!
Adan Griego, Stanford University Libraries
Jesus Alonso-Regalado (SUNY Albany) just updated his Latin American and Spanish Videos Freely Available on the Internet: A Guide to Web Resources – Library Guides at University at Albany page to include CINE CHILENO ONLINE, in his words, “an excellent website that provides access to many Chilean feature films, documentaries and short films online.” Check it out!
This article, published by the Universidad de Concepción, discusses an upcoming exchange between the Duke Libraries and several university libraries in Chile. The exchange will bring five librarians from Chile to Duke in March and April 2012 and four librarians from Duke to Chile in May 2012. All of the Chilean universities are in the Maule region which was affected by the earthquake last year. The exchange was arranged by our University Librarian, Deborah Jakubs with a grant from the Carnegie Corporation. I hope to report on the exchange at the Section meeting of LASA in May. If you have questions or suggestions for our Chilean colleagues, let me know.
Please visit http://pudl.princeton.edu/collections/pudl0025 to search Princeton’s extensive and growing collection of Latin American posters. The posters included in this digital project were created by a wide variety of social activists, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, political parties, and other types of organizations across Latin America, in order to publicize their views, positions, agendas, policies, events, and services. Even though posters produced in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, and Venezuela are the most abundant among the more than two thousand currently available on the site, almost every country in the region is represented. In terms of topics, some of the best represented are human rights, elections, gender issues, indigenous issues, labor, ecology and environmental issues, development, public health, and education. The Latin American Posters Collection is a component of the larger collection of Latin American ephemera that Princeton University Library has developed since the 1970s. Feel free to contact me with any comments or questions about the collection.
Aquiles Alencar Brayner (BL) and Lucia Shelton (OCLC) at the National Library of Chile
The digital library, as many people have suggested, is everywhere. New technologies allow us to gather a massive number of information in digital format and carry it with us in a myriad of technological devices such as laptops, pen drives, mobile phones and e-readers. Never in history have we had this easy access to information. The problem we all face is how to deal with this new digital situation: which sources to use for the retrieval of pertinent information? What to select and how to archive materials in electronic format for future generations? How to deal with issues of preservation in the digital world? As one might guess, the First Conference on National Digital Libraries held in Santiago (Chile) last week had more questions than answers. We all agreed that ours is an age of ‘infoxication’ and that national and academic libraries have to act quickly in order to find the antidote for the treatment of this new syndrome. Many of the presentations in the conference raised common issues faced by National libraries when dealing with electronic publications, including the lack of depository laws for digital-born material and the development of new tools and standards for managing electronic information. Participants had also the opportunity to learn about international digital initiatives such as the World Digital Library
set up by the Library of Congress and other similar projects being developed in Latin America and Spain such as the Biblioteca Digital Pedro de Angelis, a digitisation project led by the national libraries of Argentina and Brazil; and the Biblioteca Digital Iberoamericana, a collaborative project between various Ibero-American national libraries. The message that came across in the conference was straight forward: by creating strategies for effective selection (especially by avoiding duplication of collections and coordinating digitisation programmes), sharing access to digital information and setting up best practices for preservation, libraries will be in a better position to take decisions and lead the discussion on digital information, providing efficient and innovative service for our users.