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From Berlin 54 to Providence 55

Wow! What a wonderful conference SALALM 54 was! My sincerest congratulations and gratitude to Past President Pamela Graham, to the Local Arrangements Committee chaired by Peter Altekrüger, to the Ibero-American Institute, and to the SALALM Secretariat for organizing a truly memorable event. What I appreciated the most from an overall solid and stimulating conference program was that it offered an excellent opportunity to engage the work and perspectives of colleagues and scholars from across the Atlantic.

Naturally, each participant experienced the conference according to his or her particular interests and time constraints, but I suspect that I would not be mistaken by claiming that most of us found the keynote address by Professor Ludwig Ellenberg, German Geographers in Latin America, to be one of the conference highlights. I am also sure that, for those of us who traveled to Berlin from the Americas, it was a pleasure and an enriching experience to count with the participation of numerous members of the Red Europea de Información y Documentación sobre América Latina (REDIAL). I am confident that the communication and the collaboration between the members of REDIAL and SALALM will increase thanks to relations established during the conference, including the signing of a formal collaboration agreement between both organizations.

I shall not leave unmentioned the truly special social and cultural events to which we were lavishly treated, including the guided tours of the Ibero-American Institute and of the exhibition on Robert Lehmann-Nitsche and Argentina, the spectacular boat tour through Berlin, and the Libreros Reception at the Gemäldegalerie. Thank you!

I would also like to use this space to personally thank a small group of librarians and libreros, including S. Lief Adelson, Darlene Hull, Angela J. Kinney, Nerea Llamas, Holly Ackerman, and Linda Russo, for participating in a panel that I organized and moderated, titled Adaptation and Innovation: Libraries and Libreros on Collections, Technical Services and the Economic Crisis. All of them offered thoughtful reports and/or reflections on the impact that the recent economic crisis is having or is likely to have on their areas of work, and on how their libraries or businesses are adapting to rapidly changing circumstances. Even though their perspectives and personal views differed, sometimes markedly, I found it quite revealing that all of them suggested that innovative forms of cooperation are necessary, and that successful adaptation will require a collective effort.

From the moment that I started putting the panel together back in the spring, I had been nervously hoping that it would produce a discussion as lively and serious as the one generated last year at the New Orleans conference by David Blocks paper Where Are We?; Where We May Be Going; What Will We Do There (available at http://hdl.handle.net/1813/10827). I was pleased to see that the panel was very well attended and that it also provoked many thoughtful reactions and ideas from an engaged audience. I think that it served, not only as a continuation of the previous year’s discussion, but also as a way of preparing our mindsets for the SALALM 2010 conference.

In order to bring what I consider to be an essential conversation to the next level, next year we will have a departure, or a hiatus, from the usual practice of organizing the conference theme around an academic topic or discipline. Instead, the meeting will serve as a broad forum for examining, debating, and learning about practical and theoretical aspects related to new trends affecting academic and research libraries. These trends, most of us probably agree, will have systematic implications on the way in which Latin American research library collections are built and the manner in which research libraries provide access to the region’s documentation and creative expression production. The aim of the conference will then be to foster the development of ideas and strategies which could be adopted by SALALM, its members, and other important stakeholders in order to both adapt and shape outcomes.

SALALM LV, The Future of Latin American Library Collections and Research: Contributing and Adapting to New Trends in Research Libraries, will take place at the Providence Biltmore Hotel in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, near Brown University, on July 23-27, 2010.
I am very excited about taking on the responsibility of organizing a successful conference and consider myself fortunate to be collaborating with Patricia Figueroa, our colleague from Brown University and head of the Local Arrangements Committee. Patricia initiated preparations for the conference months ago and has already made available a conference website at http://dl.lib.brown.edu/salalm/. Even though it is still a little early, please review it and start familiarizing with the conference theme and other important details.

We will be sending much more information about SALALM 55 soon. I promise!

Posted by Fernando Acosta-Rodriguez.

Dispatches from Germany

>Dispatches from Germany
So far we feel right at home. The luggage came off the conveyer; the Budget rental car desk was handy and efficient; the car park opened directly to an expressway system that seems to go everywhere. But, wait, wind farms dot every horizon, their giant propellers slowly turning in the breeze. And there is no urban sprawl. Grain fields and pasturage reach right up to most city limits; even Berlin has yet to grow past its perimeter highway.

My wife and I are beginning our trip with a visit to an AFS student whom we hosted in Ithaca. Ten years later he is a medical student in Greiswald, on the Baltic coast. So we spent yesterday driving the diagonal from Frankfurt to the far northeast of the country. Right now we’re trying to shake the effects of jetlag and too many hours behind the wheel. Before I close this first entry, some basics.
“A” is for autobahns, Germany’s unbelievable superhighway network. They’re an Interstate system, only maintained, and along with the Volkswagen, Adolph Hitler’s only positive legacy. Although speed limits, 120 km/hour, are posted, don’t even think of getting into the passing lane at a speed less than 85 mph and don’t stay there unless you are willing to drive a hundred. “B” is for bicycle; every man, woman and child has one. Germans ride them all over, most without helmets. “C,” well, I can’t think of a “c” word now except “cansado.” But this will pass.

Not wanting to endanger my retired status, I have stayed away from most of the SALALM, but I will serve as your roving reporter, offering updates from venues outside the IAI and the Martim.
I am lodging in a part of the city that was off limits when SALALM met here in 1986. In those days the city lived in the shadow of The Wall. Visitors were never far from it, and Berliners lived with the daily reality that they were never far from freedom or oppression. The Wall is down now, chewed into tiny bits recycled as road fill, but its legacy will be a long one. Even with the incredible reconstruction of the city strange anomalies remain—tram tracks ending in nowhere mark the route of the wall. Enormous apartment blocks still dot the horizon, and no amount of paint and plaster will erase the memory of who built them. There is, apparently, a certain nostalgia for the good old days among some former East Germans. But I suspect that this is disingenuous. No one would want to return to a time when neighbors spied on neighbors, when consumer goods were frightfully scarce and when families were forcibly separated by the force of politics.

Since my last post, I have thought of some “c” words. The first is “c”rane, the tall metal ones. They are everywhere, even in these tough economic times, rebuilding the city. The second is “children.” They’re everywhere. Apparently, Berlin has the highest birthrate in Europe. I’ve amused myself by photographing children in strollers.

No one spending time here would fail to notice what a melting pot Berlin has become. The Turkish community is to Berlin what the Mexican community is to Los Angeles, the largest outside their countries of origin. Yesterday we were chauffeured by a Palestinian from Gaza and served by a Kosovar waiter. Each was expecting a child, the Kosovar, twins.

“D” is for dogs; Berlin is full of them, and in a strange contradiction of German rectitude, Berliners habitually walk them off-leash. Giants and toys, riding in bicycle baskets and trotting beside runners, sitting under restaurant tables, openly defecating in parks, all well-fed and collared, dogs are everywhere.
As another legacy of the Cold War, Berlin is filled with what are now overlapping cultural institutions. There are doppelganger opera companies, national libraries, and symphonies currently living separate lives but headed toward shotgun mergers. What brings this to mind is Sunday night’s trip to the Opera Komishe, a beautiful 19th century hall in the former East Berlin. Six SALAMists and dependents went to hear Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann. I am a great fan of the music—it lives on my iPod—but I had never seen it performed, and I was a little let down. The staging combined 1930s Weimar decadence with gangster Chicago and Olympia first appears as a dominatrix. Get the picture? I considered closing my eyes to the spectacle, but with a full-day’s touristing under my belt, that would have meant nodding off.
Another cultural duplication, if culture can ever be redundant, is Berlin’s vast array of museums. In the partition, the Commies got Museum Insul, three 19th century buildings dedicated to the glories of antiquity and German science. We saw the famous reconstructions of the Pergamon altar and Babylon’s gate, excavated and removed by German archaeologists nearly 150 years ago. The audio guide, recorded in rich, Oxfordian English studiously avoided the issue of cultural patrimony, but you have to wonder. On the western side of town, corporate and individual donors created new spaces for their collections, among the most notable is the Bergurren in Charlottenburg, with its remarkable collection of Picassos.

“E” ist für eis, cream, that is. It’s been hot in Berlin, and ice cream is just the ticket. It’s served everywhere and consumed copiously especially by children (see “c,” above). I have sampled widely and narrowed my favorites to the many flavors of chocolate concocted for German palates and strawberry a fruit now in season.

Last night the local organizers and book dealers really outdid themselves at the reception. The venue was nothing less than the Gemaldegalerie, a museum lit only by filtered sunlight. Here Berliners have lovingly reunited a collection of medieval and early modern paintings that were separated for half a century by politics. We marveled at the display of so much richness in a single, rather small, space.
The weather for the conference has been a mix of sun, clouds and rain, but on Tuesday, the haze lifted to reveal the east side of the Brandenburg Gate as a rich blonde-colored rectangle, topped by the Reichstag’s glittering dome. Nearby the Monument to European Jews, several hundred black granite rectangles aligned to suggest a cemetery cast dark shadows across its grounds.

Berlin must have one of the most efficient transportation systems on the planet. Bicycles roll along sidewalk lanes created for them. Electric trolleys work the crowds in East Berlin; buses and the Metro (UBahn) serve the West. Mass transit is supplemented by a ubiquitous fleet of taxis, mostly capacious Mercedes sedans. My wife and I have learned to reach most of the sites of interest by mounting two nearly-connected systems, the M-1 trolley that runs from the North Mitte to Humboldt University and the #100 bus that begins in the Museum Insul and runs along west toward Tiergarten. Somehow Berlin has also discovered an alchemy that makes rush hour disappear. A cab driver offered a not-altogether-satisfactory felicity about staggering office hours.

I can’t help but reflect on the passage of time between the SALALMs of 1986 and 2009. In those 13 years the city has undergone a remarkable transformation, reflecting the reunion of the modern German state. What the tourist sees is a tribute to ingenuity and determination, and the transformation is ongoing. Visitors in the coming years will see even more of the ongoing project to make Berlin a single city, but don’t wait for the next SALALM!
Your faithful correspondent has now left Berlin. I’m writing from the Rhineland.

Before I sign off, I want to add one more “a,” to my alphabetical list. Altakrueger and his staff did a fantastic job. Thanks, so much.

Posted by David Block.

Looking For (Latin American) Art Books in Berlin (July 8, 2009)

>After the Townhall Meeting we had one more coffee break to enjoy. We were reminded (and invited) to return for the Executive Board Meeting where important matters are always discussed, often times it lasts as long as the LAMP meetings of the first night!

But, I managed to escape (unnoticed) and wonder off to visit an art bookshop that I had seen on Sunday but it was closed at the time. It was quite big and I was not going to miss this chance. One of the books I saw on display that day was not even listed in OCLC’s Worldcat (Dream[s?] of Solentiname), so there must be other treasures there. And indeed there were, here’s a list that might be of interest to us all:

Gibson, R. (2005). Brazil: As origins visuais da cultura. Bologna: Damiani.

Griffioen, P. (1999). Cuba: Doblegada pero no quebrada = gebogen niet gebroken = bent not broken. Amsterdam: Focus Pub.

Miller, S. (2008). Imagine Cuba: 1999-2007. Milano: Charta.

Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Peter und Irene Ludwig Stiftung, & Muzeĭ Li︠u︡dviga. (2002). Kunst aus Kuba: Sammlung Ludwig = Art from Cuba : the Ludwig Collection. [Bad Breisig]: Palace Editions.

Testino, M. (2007). Lima, Peru: Featuring the work of over 100 Peruvian artists. Bologna: Damiani.

Lancrenon, S., & Marzloff, S. (2008). Cuba libre Emmanuelle Béart. München: Schirmer Mosel.

Fabry, A. (2008). Fotografía latinoamericana: Colección Anna Gamazo de Abelló : una selección = a selection : 1895-2008. México, D.F.: : Editorial RM.

Álvarez, A. (2008). Citámbulos Mexico City: Journey to the Mexican megalopolis = Viaje a la megalópolis mexicana = Reise in die mexikanische Magalopole. Berlin: Jovis.

Mossinger, Ingrid, Flieg, Hans, Merklinger, Martina, & Metz, Katharina. (2009). Hans Gunter Flieg Documentary Photography from Brazil 1940-1970. Kerber Verlag.

Kulturhuset (Stockholm, Sweden). (2008). Nuevas historias: A new view of Spanish photography and video art. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz.

Venancio Filho, P., & Gunnarsson, A. (2008). Time & place: Rio de Janeiro 1956-1964. [Stockholm]: Moderna Museet.

Posted by Adán Griego

SALALM’s Opening Day

The opening reception for SALALM’s annual conference in Berlin saw about 15-20 attendees from the previous meeting in 1986 also held in Berlin.

Some things have not changed much since then: the LAMP meeting lasted more than 2 hours. But other changes have taken place: there was no forum to discuss emerging technologies and now the Electronic Resources Subcommittee has become one of the most popular gatherings on the 1st day of the conference.

Victor Federico Torres (University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras) received the Jose Toribio Medina Award, given each year by SALALM to the best reference work published by one of its members.

Attending were also about 20 members from REDIAL, the European counterpart to SALALM which had its origins at the 1986 meeting when colleagues from Europe saw the need to have a forum for Latin American Studies information professionals to exchange ideas. REDIAL was celebrating its 20th anniversary and its “Asamblea” coincided with SALALM’s annual meeting.

At a joint afternoon session more than 30 members from each group discussed possible ways of cooperating (both formal and informal) in areas of shared concerns: providing access to information from/about Latin America in all its multiple formats.

The day ended with the “Fiesta de Libreros” held at the Gemaldegalerie where we had the run of the museum and were able to enjoy multilingual guided tours of the varied rich visual treasures of the Old Masters Gallery.

The traditional “Rifa de Enlace” was also held at the Fiesta gathering where many coveted “recuerdos” from Latin America were raffled away. The many souvenirs were donated by dealers as a way to raise monies for the Enlace Fund. Since 1986 more than 60 professionals from Latin America have been invited to take part in SALALM thanks to this endeavor which is about to celebrate its silver anniversary.

 

Posted by Adán Griego

Ibero-Amerikanische Institut

Here are a few pictures from the Ibero-Amerikanische Institut tour.





Posted by Stephanie Rocío Miles

The Little Foxes

>


I should either be A) at the interlibrary cooperation meeting OR B) preparing for the Executive Board meeting, but instead I am here in the nerve center of the SALALM 54 conference, juicing up my laptop and blogging. Things have been going quite smoothly so far and I can take absolutely no credit for this. The Berlin local arrangements team runs a tight ship and it seems like they have thought of everything. I think many of us are starting to think they can order up the weather. Today has been much cooler and sunny–perfect weather for sitting in committee meetings!

Following up on Adan’s post, we had a good LAMP meeting in the lovely Bolivar room at the IAI. They graciously held a reception for us afterwards (big incentive to finish the meeting). We had a look at the wonderful exhibit they have prepared !Al pueblo argentino de 2010! Culturas en movimiento en el Rio de la Plata. (sorry can’t make accents on this computer). And some wine and empanadas, along with German sandwiches.

And enjoy a nice photo of our new members orientation. Yes, I can confirm that the Latin Lover was the drink of choice at our reception.

So where do the foxes come into the picture? On the way back to our hotel each night, I’ve been seeing little creatures that I now know are foxes. At first I thought they were jet lag induced hallucinations but I have independent confirmation that they are indeed foxes. I’ve never seen them in an urban setting like this. We are just blocks from Berlin’s Tiergarten, which literally means animal garden. It was laid out in the 18th century as a hunting ground so perhaps this all makes sense. Berlin can be a magical place indeed. . . Back to business

Prelude to a LAMP Meeting

July 3, 2009
Roberto Delgadillo (UC Davis) and I enjoyed a Berlin city tour from a low budget and quite entertaining group. The double decker bus had no air conditioning and when we were caught by an unexpected “chubasco” in front of the Branderburg Gate, the lower deck started to leak! But the tour guide and the driver were quite friendly and when the driver heard us speaking in Spanish, he made sure we noticed the Mexican Embassy building, which is quite interesting indeed.

We arrived back at the hotel on time to attend the much dreaded LAMP meeting, which has traditionally been scheduled for the first night of the conference. It did not disappoint this time around, not only did it last the usual three hours!!!! But the proposals were certainly varied and of great interest: from digitizing 20th century women’s journals from Brazil to cataloging Bolivian colonial documents. All of which touched of topics of interest to SALALM but also indicated LAMP’s original mission to preserve rare/unique/brittle materials as it moves into integrating new technologies and now considers digitization projects, all in concert with its original mission to provide access to rich resources in need of long term preservation.

After the meeting ended, our hosts at the Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut treated the 36 attendees to a reception at the Institute’s library main floor where we also enjoyed their newly mounted exhibit Al pueblo argentine de 2010! Culturas en movimiento en el Rio de la Plata!

Adan Griego, Stanfoard University Libraries.

Berlin and SALALM

The trip here was long and frustrating but Berlin is really interesting. I am staying in a hostel called Pfefferbett, which I can recommend, and now I am using the free computers in the breakfast room aka bar to write this. The committee meetings yesterday were interesting and frank… I think everyone feels free to express themselves in this group. The hotel is about 4 km or more from here so I walked yesterday and got my exercise… maybe today I will figure out the subway. I promise to take some pictures today and post…
Yesterday I saw the Tiergarten, which was once a hunting preserve for the Kurfurst, some kind of prince, and gradually turned into something similar to Central Park, with statues of kings and queens. I saw a hippy mom, barefoot, with her little child, about one year old, and lots of other parents with kids on bikes. It is a good city for cycling, with lots of bike paths, and bicycle rickshaws. I even saw what looked like newlyweds on a two+person rickshaw, followed by a couple other rickshaws carrying the other members of the wedding party. The bride wore white and carried flowers and had a big smile on her face.
I alo tried to visit the Musical Instrument museum, but when we got there the man at the door told us that it was too close to closing time, and I will have to try again another day. It is close to the Maritim Hotel.
Dining possibilities are good here and food is better than I remember from my student days in (west) Germany back in the olden days… a large group of us went to a Croatian restaurant and had schaschlik (shishkabob) and schnitzel and the best beer… It.s true, the beers in Berlin are great.

 

Jean Dickson

Book Burning, Berlin


This morning I started exploring Berlin, and one of the sites I wanted to make sure I visited was the memorial for the book burning event that took place on May 10, 1933, when students burned over 25,000 books considered “un-German”. It took me a while to find it, and it was only after I asked around that I figured out why I couln’t find it; a large tent for Berlin’s Fashion Week is sitting right over the memorial (yes, lovely contrast there). Still, I kept asking around and found out that the memorial is still open to the public, through a small side entrance.

Here are a couple of pictures I took there.

Esta mañana he comenzado a explorar Berlín, y uno de los sitios que quería asegurarse de visitar es el monumento a la quema de libros que tuvo lugar el 10 de mayo de 1933, cuando los estudiantes quemaron más de 25.000 libros considerados “anti-alemanes”. Me tomó un tiempo encontrarlo, y fue sólo después de preguntar que me di cuenta por que no lo veia, encima hay una tienda grandisima donde se esta organizando la Semana de la Moda de Berlín (sí, lindo el contraste). Igual segui preguntando y descubri que el lugar todavia sigue abierta al público, a través de una pequeña entrada lateral.

He aquí un par de fotos que tomé allí.

Willkommen in Berlin!

Greetings from Berlin! I arrived around midday Wednesday and am probably one of the first overseas attendees to arrive. I had a delayed but uneventful flight, direct from New York. At the baggage claim I discovered that Tina Gross was on my flight, but that was the only Salalmer@ I encountered today.

Here’s the entrance to our hotel, in the lovely Kulturforum district. The air is fragrant with some kind of blossom. I spent most of my day settling in and getting organized. I took a walk over to the nearby Potsdamer Platz. There are several shops and restaurants about 10 minutes walk from the hotel. I will be helping our colleagues at the IAI Library with conference preparations tomorrow (although they are so organized they probably do not need my help!). I hope to run into some arriving Salalm members on Thursday and Friday. It’s warm here right now, highs near 80 F but it will be a few degrees cooler after Sunday, according to the forecasts.

Hasta pronto, pamela

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