Third Presidential Message - SALALM 2015 - ENLACE becarios

Prezados colegas/Dear Colleagues/Estimados colegas...

Prezados colegas/Dear Colleagues/Estimados colegas,

I would like to share with you very stimulating news about the Enlace Travel Award Program.

Over the years, Enlace has become one of the flagship programs of SALALM as an area studies library organization.  Enlace promotes professional networking between librarians from North American institutions and librarian colleagues who work in Latin America and the Caribbean.  The Enlace becarios receive a grant to attend the SALALM annual conferences.  In return, they commit to present a paper on a panel session at the conference.  Altogether, 81 librarians and information professionals from as many as 23 countries from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain have been direct beneficiaries of the Enlace Program since its creation in 1986.  Many Enlace Awardees have led successful careers in librarianship, making invaluable contributions to the profession.  I am thinking of colleagues such as Helen Ladrón de Guevara (1988), Rosa María Fernández de Zamora (1992), and Jesús Lau (1996), just to mention three prominent Mexican librarians with whom I have collaborated in recent years.  A list of Enlace becarios from 1986 to 2014 is available at

I am very happy to report that the three Latin American librarians who were selected as grant recipients by the Enlace Committee this year have confirmed participation in the upcoming SALALM LX Conference at Princeton University.  We will have the opportunity to visit with these talented Enlace becarios during the meeting, but I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words about their professional backgrounds and the topics of their presentations.

Susana Arias Arévalo is the Head of the Periodicals Division at Biblioteca Lo Contador at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago.  She is also responsible for managing the Special and Rare Books Collection at her institution.  In her presentation “El futuro del pasado: Proyecto Fondo Antiguo de la Universidad Católica de Chile,” Susana will report on an interdisciplinary initiative to enhance the cataloging records of a historically significant collection of rare books dating back to the 16th century held at the Universidad Católica.

Janete Saldanha Bach Estevão is a reference librarian in the Sistema de Bibliotecas (SiBi) at the Universidade Federal do Paraná in Curitiba.  She will be speaking about digital repositories created by both Brazil's Ministry of Education and her own institution.  These initiatives have been instrumental in promoting not only greater access to electronic scholarly content, but more importantly, they have served to increase international visibility of Brazilian scholarship.  Janete's presentation is entitled “From Public Policies to Academic Initiatives towards Electronic Resources Access in Brazil.”

Adriana Ríos Parra is the Coordinator of Proyecto FLACSO Andes, based in Quito.  In her presentation “Indicadores académicos de la Biblioteca Digital FLACSO Andes,” Adriana reviews the achievements of the open access portal originally launched in 2008.  Based on a model of inter-institutional cooperation, Proyecto FLACSO Andes has established itself as a leading open access initiative in the region.

SALALM allocates $1,000 to support the Enlace Program each year.  The bulk of the funding, however, comes from the now fabled raffle prize ticket sales at the SALALM annual meetings and the generous stream of donations from members.  In the last fiscal year, the sale of raffle prize tickets generated $1,784 and individual member donations accounted for $726 of the Enlace budget.  Every year at the SALALM meeting, we see the dedicated Enlace Committee members busily selling tickets for the raffle.  The prizes—it must be also acknowledged—are generously donated by SALALM members.  The sale of tickets and the actual drawing ceremony that takes place during the highly anticipated Libreros' Reception event are both firmly entrenched as part of SALALM's lore and professional identity.

This year the Enlace Program budget received a significant boost from a donation of $1,500 made by Susanne Bach Books from Brazil.  This generous gift allowed the Enlace Committee to select three Latin American librarians to attend the SALALM LX Conference.  In explaining Susanne Bach's motivation to make this gift, Vera Araujo pointed not only to her business partners' desire to support Enlace on the year that the SALALM annual conference is dedicated to Brazil, but also their appreciation for an organization that quoting Vera's own words “has been so supportive of our lives' work and has also helped to disseminate Brazilian and Latin American culture abroad.”

Based in Rio de Janeiro, Susanne Bach Books from Brazil is one of the oldest libreros from Latin America that specialize in furnishing library materials to North American and European institutions.  The firm's founder, Dr. Susanne Eisenberg Bach (1909-1997), held a doctorate in Romance Philology from the University of Munich.  Fleeing Nazi persecution of German Jews, she resettled in Paris in 1933 where she worked for well-established publishers and antiquarian booksellers such as Librarie Droz and Julius Hess.  For a time, she also worked for prominent Spanish philologist Ramón Menéndez Pidal who had taken temporary exile in France during the Spanish Civil War.  In 1941, Dr. Bach migrated to Rio, adopting Brazil as her country for the next four decades.  Life must have been challenging for an impoverished, single mother in a strange country.  But drawing on her subject knowledge and book trade know-how, she was well-positioned to launch the successful book-exporting business that we know today.  The biographical sketches available on the websites of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers ( and the Casa Stefan Zweig ( offer a glimpse into Susanne Bach's fascinating life and career as one of SALALM's pioneer libreros.  Dr. Bach herself provides a personal reflection on her own origins as a specialized book dealer in a short piece published in the proceedings of the SALALM XXXI Conference, which was hosted by the Ibero-American Institute in Berlin in 1986.

Susanne Bach retired from her company moving back to Germany in 1983.  After her retirement, her long-time partner, Patrick Levy, took the helm of the company for the next few years.  Vera Araujo joined the firm in the early 1980s, after her long sojourn working and studying in the United States.  By 1986, Patrick and Vera had become business partners.  In 2007, Sandra Soares entered into the firm as full partner in recognition of her many years of dependable service to the firm.

We are more than grateful to Patrick, Vera, and Sandra at Susanne Bach Books from Brazil for their generous gift to the Enlace Travel Award Program.  Supporting SALALM's flagship program further strengthens one of our core missions—promoting the exchange of ideas, training, and expertise among librarians and information specialists working throughout the Americas.

In closing, I would also like to recognize the dedication and professionalism of past and current members of the Enlace Travel Award Committee.  The strength of the Enlace Program is also due to the hard work of many colleagues who have served on the committee.  I am particularly grateful to current committee co-chairs Teresa Chapa, Betsaida Reyes, and Daniel Schoorl for their able stewardship of this key program in our organization.

Saudações cordiais/Best regards/Saludos cordiales,



Luis A. González

President, SALALM (2014-2015)

Indiana University

5 June 2015