Presidential Message- October 2010

Greetings from Michigan! Hope you are all off to a productive Fall semester....
Greetings from Michigan! Hope you are all off to a productive Fall semester. As I write this message, my eyes are continually drawn out the window, to my favorite tree. There is nothing unusual about this tree, but I love it because it is the one that heralds the new season. Today, the leaves on the top branches are already turning a lovely shade of orange and I know it will not be long before Fall is in full swing. In fact, I am happy to report that temperatures in Michigan are already cooler.

While I watch the leaves rustle on that tree, I am thinking back to our meeting in July. I can say without hesitation that it was one of my favorite SALALM conferences; my thanks to Patricia and Fernando for the excellent program and local arrangements planning. Their efforts not only made for a truly enjoyable experience, but also netted a profit of approximately $11,000! For this I must also extend my thanks to the generous support of Brown University Library and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Brown and the Princeton University Library.

For those of you not able to join us in Providence or who simply missed the Town Hall, Business or Executive Board meetings, I would like to provide a few highlights. Foremost in my mind are the two proposals passed at the second Executive Board meeting: 1) a recommendation from the Editorial Board to cease the printed SALALM Newsletter and integrate its contents with the SALALM website and 2) the formation of a SALALM Communication Committee. Both of these proposals spurred lively discussion during the conference at a special session, then again in the Town Hall before passing in the final Executive Board meeting. Currently, I am forming and charging the Communications Committee, whose primary task over the next several months will be to plan the transformation of the Newsletter to its online form. In the interim, the SALALM Newsletter will appear in its same format as a .pdf document. This move will have the immediate effect of saving SALALM approximately $13,000 per year in printing and postage costs. Long term, SALALM's activities will be more visible to SALALM members and to potential members internationally. It will also allow for a more timely and dynamic news forum.

Both of these proposals developed as a result of Pamela Graham's e-SALALM initiative, which called for a review of “routine SALALM functions (i.e. Initial memberships and membership renewals, Conference Registration, SALALM election balloting); publications (i.e. Newsletter, Membership Directory,Proceedings and other publications); Publicity and Outreach (i.e. use of blogs, Facebook,podcasts, and other social networking tools to disseminate information and engage existing and potential members); and Intra-SALALM communication (i.e. Group work spaces for committees/subcommittees;tools for sharing documents, minutes, and any project documentation etc.)”. While the Newsletter and Communications Committee proposals take us half way to completing the goals outlined by the e-SALALM proposal, there is still much to be done. To continue this work, I have re-formed the e-SALALM Ad-hoc Committee, which now includes: Alison Hicks, chair; Suzanne Schadl, Nashieli Marcano. The group will focus primarily on a review of routine SALALM functions and Intra-SALALM communication and present their recommendations at our next SALALM meeting in Philadelphia. While I look forward to the committee's recommendations, I also want to take this opportunity to thank Pamela Graham for her excellent work in developing the e-SALALM proposal and leading this initiative over the last two years.

No less important are two further proposals made by the Editorial Board and accepted at the final Executive Board Meeting. The first changes the “José Toribio Medina Award Criteria for Nomination” at, to a prize for a noteworthy publication, instead of the more limiting book-length publication and adds journal articles to the list of acceptable formats. The second proposal gives SALALM members the option “to repost papers originally published in SALALM conference proceedings three years after they have been published with the organization” with permission of the SALALM Secretariat. Permission will be granted for non-profit, open-access purposes only.

In other news, PRI, the Policy, Research and Investigation Committee, has initiated a review of the Operations Handbook with an eye toward enhancing its content. And, the Constitutions & Bylaws committee is rewriting the SALALM Constitution & Bylaws as well as drafting an official SALALM mission statement.

As you can see, this will be a buy year for SALALM. I will do my best to keep you updated as the year progresses. I hope you will feel free to send me any comments or suggestions you might have about the initiatives mentioned or anything else SALALM related.

On a final note, I urge you to renew your SALALM membership as soon as possible. The SALALM Secretariat depends on these renewals to carry out the work of the organization. I also encourage you to contribute to the SALALM Challenge Match, which will be matched up to $1,000 thanks to anonymous donor. Don't miss this exciting opportunity to support SALALM!
Nerea A. Llamas
University of Michigan