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Second Day at SALALM’s Conference in Providence

After a constant “vaiven” of back to back activities, the 2nd day of SALALM’s internal meetings seemed less hectic but with just as intense discussions on a variety of topics.

The “libreros” gathering provided a forum for SALALM’s vendors to address issues like the constant reduction of library budgets (will it ever end?) and how to position themselves as independent booksellers to face the competition from the larger and better funded media conglommerates. At some level it’s preaching to the converted (we in SALALM) that vendors based in Latin America go the extra mile in trying to locate materials that dealers in the United States may not be able to do OR are not willing to do.

A much anticipated post-lunch meeting (e-SALALM discussion) drew a standing room only audience. We focused on ways in which the organization can transition into an electronic environment, make better use of emerging technologies and have a more dynamic online presence.

As participants approached the registration area, they could not miss the many souvenirs displayed on an overflowing table nearby. These are the items being raffled to raise funds for the Enlace/Outreach Subcommittee that for more than 20 years has been granting scholarships to bring Latin American information professionals to participate at SALALM annual conferences.

Stay tuned for tomorrow for a report on the keynote speech and much more.

SALALM’s 55th Annual Meeting from Providence.

More than 180 SALALM members (librarians,vendors and visitors) have gathered at Providence for the group’s annual meeting which started on Thursday (July 22nd) and is being hosted by Brown University.

SALALM’s professional activities started with two pre-conferences:

1) An eclectic group of 22 SALAMistas enjoyed a unique experience: studying rare books dating back to the 17th century as part of the “History of the Book in Mexico” seminar.

2) A similarly eager group of 7 professionals new to Latin American Studies learned about collection development where topics ranged from Spanish-language publishing to the ever-present discussion of everything digital (e-books, e-journals…).

The first day of internal meetings (Friday, July 23rd) provided a full agenda where veteran librarians, vendors from Latin America and Europe and few newcomers participated in discussions on a wide variety of topics of interest beyond Latin American Studies Librarianship: reference services and BI in a digital environment; electronic resources; reduced budgets; cooperative collection development projects, etc.

It is all part of the umbrella of the conference’s theme: “The Future of Latin American Library Collections and Research: Contributing and Adapting to Trends in Research Libraries.”
As good colleague and friend from the other side of the Rhode Island borders says: more as it happens.

About SALALM 2010 conference in Providence, Rhode Island

Dear SALALM colleagues,

Especially for those of you who couldn’t make it to Berlin and therefore missed my introduction to the 2010 conference theme, The Future of Latin American Library Collections and Research: Contributing and Adapting to New Trends in Research Libraries (Providence, Rhode Island, July 23-27, 2010), please visit http://dl.lib.brown.edu/salalm/.

You’ll find there more information about the conference theme and additional details, including a pre-conference workshop at the John Carter Brown Library on the history of the book in Mexico. Patricia Figueroa, our host at Brown University and head of the Local Arrangements Committee, will send more information about the workshop in the near future.

As you will notice, the SALALM 2010 conference will depart from the usual practice of organizing the theme around an academic topic or discipline. Instead, the meeting will serve as a broad forum for examining, debating and learning about technical and theoretical aspects related to the complex trends that are transforming the way in which Latin American research library collections are developed and the manner in which research libraries provide access to the region’s documentation.

The objective is to bring to the next level an essential conversation that was initiated in 2008 at Tulane University by David Block’s presentation of his paper Where Are We?; Where We May Be Going; What Will We Do There (available at http://hdl.handle.net/1813/10827). Ultimately, I hope that 2010 conference serves to foster the development of ideas and strategies that can be adopted by SALALM, its members, and other important stakeholder in order to both adapt to trends and shape outcomes.

To achieve this, I am asking SALALM committee chairs in particular and the membership in general to start considering and preparing substantial contributions for the program in the form of panels, roundtable discussions and workshops. As you do this, keep in mind that this is an excellent opportunity for producing high quality papers that might serve as documentation or reference for the broader library world. This is also a good opportunity to rethink and refocus, if appropriate, the work conducted within committees.

Even though an official press release and a call for papers have not been sent out yet, feel free to contact me to discuss preliminary ideas and potential proposals. I am looking forward to hear from many of you.

Muchas gracias y hasta pronto.

Posted by Fernando Acosta-Rodriguez

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