Miguel Valladares, formerly of Dartmouth College, has accepted the position as Librarian for Romance Languages at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, beginning on February 20. Felicidades, Miguel!
Meagan Lacy (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis University) has published “The Virtues of a Committed Dilettante: Embracing Nonexpert Expertise” in College and Research Libraries News, February 2012, 73 (2).
David Block (University of Texas at Austin) recently made television news for donating long lost books to the National Library of Peru.
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.
- Meagan in Chicago.
Position held: Assistant Librarian, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis University Library
Collection development/subject areas: philosophy and world languages (including Spanish, Classical Studies, and German)
Education: BA in philosophy and English (Seattle University), MLIS (University of Washington)
Professional interests: information literacy and instruction, copyright
Research projects: Currently co-designing a project that studies the effect of instruction on undergraduates’ ability to formulate more sophisticated search strings
“Protecting the Polka Dot: How Intellectual Property Law Affects the U.S. Textile Industry,” DttP, 37(4): 16-20.
“The Virtues of a Committed Dilettante: Embracing Non-expert Expertise,” C&RL News (forthcoming).
Before library school, I had never worked in a library. So, when I started on my MLIS degree, I was relieved to be hired as a student reference librarian at my university’s business library – that is, until I was left to field questions about multi-level marketing and harmonized codes all by my lonesome. Since I had no prior business background and no reference experience, I used to joke to my friends that it was like trying to learn how to do reference in a foreign language. Then I got my first, full-time professional position: assistant librarian with liaison duties to, among other things, the Spanish program in the World Languages Department.
Having just reading and writing ability in Spanish and no subject knowledge and no concept of how the collection was previously developed and having just graduated from library school and landed my first professional job (during, mind you, the worst economic situation of my lifetime), I was not only unsure how to proceed, but also paralyzed with fear that I would make a mistake so colossal that I would be sent to the cornfields…or, at least, to the unemployment line. So, as you might have guessed, my discovery of SALALM and the 55th conference held in Providence, RI, last July, was a godsend.
In particular, the pre-conference workshop, Latin American and Latino Studies Collection Development & Resources for the Non-Specialist: Tips for Tight Budgets, confirmed that the universe loved me after all. Led by Adan Griego, Anne Barnhart, Roberto Delgadillo, and Darlene Hull, the workshop was basically a daylong crash course on how to best do my job.
The workshop was held at the John Hay Library on Brown’s Campus. Seven of us confused souls sat around tables in a U-shaped configuration in the pretty (but chilly) Lownes Room, wondering whether or not we were allowed to bring in our cups of coffee. The session started with a brief history of the SALALM organization delivered by SALALM’s president, Fernando Acosta-Rodriguez, and the conference arranger, Patricia Figueroa.
After this introduction, Adan directed our attention to the peculiarities and challenges of Spanish Language publishing and distribution in Latin America, identifying the major players (Grupo Planeta, Grupo Santillana, Random House Mondadori) and describing the future of ebooks. I assumed that large media conglomerates, much like those in the United States, dominated the industry. But, until this conversation, I had no inkling that intra-continental distribution was almost non-existent or that print runs were so low in these countries.
Next, we discussed collection development: journals (and e-content), multimedia, websites, and selection tools. Major takeaways include:
While I was excited to learn something new, I was also relieved to find that I wasn’t totally flailing, that I was already sending my students to some of the best databases and websites (JSTOR, Project Muse, HAPI Online, Handbook of Latin American Studies, LANIC, DOAJ) and that I was already looking at top selection tools (America Reads Spanish and Criticas Reviews).
After this orientation to collection building, the afternoon finished with brownies (!) and also a sort of share-and-tell, in which Darlene Hull, a former bibliographer of Latin American Studies at the University of Connecticut and now book vendor with Libros de Barlovento, described her book buying trips in Santo Domingo. A slideshow of open-air book fairs, disorganized warehouses, and hotel rooms converted into makeshift offices and mailrooms gave us a taste of the tremendous effort (in both the logistical and physical sense of the term) that it takes for vendors to bring materials from Latin America into the US. I left this session with a sense of the value that these vendors add and with the feeling that I should make friends with them as soon as possible.
Most impressive were the facilitators’ enthusiasm, kindness, and willingness to answer questions and offer advice. As the conference continued, I realized that this description was not unique to the workshop’s facilitators but characterized the conference attendees as a whole.
Five days later, as I waited outside my gate at the TF Green Airport, my SALALM LV tote bag loaded and hanging heavily on my shoulder, I found myself eager to return to work so I could implement all of the ideas and advice I’d gleaned from the conference. I also counted myself enormously lucky to be the librarian liaison to my school’s Spanish department. Yes, I still have a lot to learn, but I like what I’m learning (more so than, say, learning about financial ratios). Best of all, between the SALALM conference and the mentoring available through La Cuna, I won’t have to go through this learning experience completely alone.