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Meet the Staff: Lesbia Orta Varona

Thanks to SALALM member Martha Mantilla of the University of Pittsburgh for passing on this article on SALALM member, Lesbia Varona.

Presidential Message June 2011

As I write this message, SALALM LVI is one short week away. Joe Holub, David Murray and I continue to finalize last minute details such as conference packets, room set-ups and menus. For those of you who enjoy statistics, there are 20 panels, 37 meetings and 6 miscellaneous sessions scheduled. It never ceases to amaze me that we carry out such a full schedule in just a few days! With regard to the program content, I draw your attention to the keynote address, “Forensic Archivists and Active Archives: Advancing the Cause of Human Rights in Latin America through Archival investigation,” which will be delivered by Peter Kornbluh of the National Security Archive. There is a wonderful selection of panels addressing memory and human rights as well as others exploring library trends and developments. This year we also have five panels dedicated to documentary screenings. I am very excited about the program and hope you will enjoy the content and mix of formats.

And let me take this opportunity to thank Joe Holub and David Murray for their hard work in planning the local arrangements for SALALM LVI. Local arrangements require a great deal of dedication and attention to detail. Joe and David have truly done their utmost to ensure a successful conference.  It has been a great pleasure working with both of them; I couldn’t have asked for better partners in this venture.

In other news…

Encouraged by the membership, the SALALM Executive Board sent a letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan voicing SALALM’s concern over proposed cuts to Title VI funding. Many SALALM member institutions benefit in a variety of ways from the Title VI program. Because of the short time frame, we needed to act quickly. My thanks to David Block for drafting the letter and to the other Executive Board members for quickly commenting and voting. As you know, the letter was sent on April 29th. Though there has been no news about Title VI funding yet, we hope that SALALM’s voice will be heard.

SALALM will host a booth at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans June 24-27, 2011. I encourage those of you who will attend to volunteer to staff the booth. In conjunction with ALA, SALALM has been invited to participate in the Spectrum Leadership Institute’s Professional Options Fair. The fair, which will take place on Thursday, June 23rd from 7:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m. at the Royal Sonesta, is an opportunity for SALALM to outreach to Spectrum Scholars who are library school students from underrepresented groups. Both the booth and the Professional Options Fair are excellent opportunities to promote SALALM and its activities.

Congratulations to the newly elected SALALM officers, President-Elect, Martha Mantilla and Members at Large Paul Losch and Mary Jo Zeter. Welcome to the Executive Board! And, thank you to the Nominating Committee for once again gathering a great slate of candidates.

Finally, I am looking forward to reuniting with old friends and making new ones in Philadelphia. Planning the SALALM LVI program has been incredibly rewarding for me personally. I hope that you will be as pleased as I am with the results!

Nerea A. Llamas

University of Michigan

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