2017 José Toribio Medina Award Winner

The winner is: The Sovereign Colony: Olympic Sport, National Identity, and International Politics in Puerto Rico published by University of Nebraska Press in 2016 by Antonio Sotomayor.

This is a beautifully written, engaging, and insightful analysis of Puerto Rico’s history as a unique national entity that simultaneously identifies and functions as a U.S. colony and an independent nation-state.  As such, it situates the case of Puerto Rico – as it connects with Latin American and Latino studies more broadly – within a global framework intersecting works on colonialism, nationalism and sport history.  It makes a strong case for the importance of understanding Puerto Rico’s particular and exceptionalist historical experience as an example of the Spanish and the broader Caribbean’s tenuous geo-political position in real and academic iterations of Latin and Latino America.

Presented by Sarah Aponte, Chair of the José Toribio Medina Award Advisory Panel
May 22, 2017


Sonia Silva – Honorary Membership

The Membership Committee would like to nominate Sônia Terezinha Dias Gonçalves da Silva to honorary membership in SALALM.  Sonia Silva has been a constant and active presence in our organization both as a Librarian and as a “Librera.”

She received a law degree in Ribeirão Preto in 1965 and a Master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Campinas (UniCamp) in 1967, both in her native Brazil. Sonia joined the UniCamp library in 1967, working in several libraries, including as Director of Special Collections, until her retirement in March of 1999. She was influential in building a strong special collections library that includes several important holdings, most notably the 8,000 volume collection of the noted Brazilian historian Sergio Buarque de Hollanda.

Sonia was influential in the evolution of special collections in all of Brazil. An interest in expanding her knowledge and experiences lead her to pursue research and training grants to the University of Texas, Brigham Young University, and Brown University, with smaller experiences at the University of Miami and Florida International University.  She began attending SALALM in 1982 with the Washington meeting. Her regular attendance began with the 1987 meeting in Miami and she has attended, often at great financial sacrifice, all of the meetings since that time.  

She was voted to the Executive Board as member-at-Large from 1996-1998. She was one of the original committee members in organizing ENLACE, with Iliana Sonntag and Mark Grover, and she continues to be active in that committee. She introduced the idea of the SALALM raffle as a way of raising funds for ENLACE at the 1994 Salt Lake City meeting, a successful tradition that continues to this day. In addition, Sonia has served on several other committees, most notably the Marginalized Peoples and Ideas subcommittee. During her library years she made a presentation every year, often in this committee meeting, and some of her papers were published in the SALALM proceedings.

After her retirement in 1998, because of her knowledge and experiences in both Brazil and the United States, she was persuaded by many in SALALM to become a book dealer for Brazilian books, which she did between 2000 and 2014. This second phase of her participation in SALALM was different, symbolized by her presence on the opposite side of the book dealer’s desk.

The Membership Committee enthusiastically endorses the nomination of Sônia Terezinha Dias Gonçalves da Silva for honorary membership of SALALM.

Lee H. Williams – In Memoriam

Lee H. Williams [1921 – 2017]

A long-time SALALM member active on various committees, mentor to those entering the organization, and superb collection curator died 24 May at his residence in Fort Myers, Florida. Born in Madison County, Georgia, he escaped the South for Seattle and the University of Washington where he received a BA in Spanish in 1947 after an interlude with the US Army on the Italian front from 1942 – 1945. Seattle’s rains proved motivating enough to accept his first professional position with the US Department of State and its Consulate General in Alexandria, Egypt. His service at a time of increasing civilian and military unrest given King Farouk’s sharply declining popularity and rising Arab nationalism under Gamal Abdel Nasser ended in 1952 with the military coup. Those years proved instrumental in Lee’s understanding of popular dissent, government corruption especially among political and business leaders, and the role of the military in society. Exposure to and implications of US government meddling in the affairs of sovereign states also was a legacy to follow him throughout his career as a Latin American specialist.

Upon return to the US, he enrolled in Columbia University’s MSLS program and graduated in 1954. His library career began at Wesleyan University where he gained experience in acquisitions, rare book cataloging and finally as the head cataloguer before departing in mid-1960 for the Universidad de Puerto Rico – Río Piedras as director of technical services in charge of cataloging, acquisitions, binding and photoduplication. After nearly four years of tropical weather and daunting bureaucracy, Lee toughen sufficiently to handle the State University of New York at Stony Brook where he was the director of technical services until fall 1967. These years of library experience proved critical for his next move: Yale University as Curator of the Latin American Collection where he served until July 1986. Bringing extensive managerial, supervisory and technical experience along with subject knowledge to this new role made him ideal for overseeing one of the country’s foremost efforts in developing a Latin American research collection. Respected by catalogers and administrators because he knew their expectations and proclivities, his unrelenting efforts to secure unique documentation as well as all available imprints of research potential enabled the collections to become even more distinguished, and often unique in depth and extent for the countries and topics of concern to Yale.

In 1970, I met Lee at my first SALALM conference [the 15th] in Toronto. Consistent and reliable acquisitions remained a problem for the area, and more bibliographers were aware that the Latin American Cooperative Acquisition Program [LACAP] required major efforts to supplement those acquisitions and specifically to locate reliable book dealers within Latin America able to expand their business to North American libraries. Acquisition trips became essential not only to assure a steady flow of new and old publications to research collections, but also to gain an edge over competing collections for it was an era of intense rivalry among the leading libraries and their bibliographers. Lee was generous to a younger generation of bibliographers and during acquisition trips with him to Mexico, Chile and Argentina I honed my expertise in this important facet of professional work.

Much of Lee’s success and admiration for his steadfast efforts stem from his voracious capacity to read widely and with great understanding, fitting together historic and contemporary trends into overriding principles to guide in the selection of materials. For many of his Yale years brutal military dictatorships ruled, and where they didn’t, often non-democratic kleptocracies did, so the challenge was documenting as many aspects of those experiences as possible, always with an eye to the backward linkages and potential of acquiring major collections of earlier imprints. Cuba held special interest for documenting the Revolution’s successes and failures as well as Chile under Allende and later the grim years of Pinochet. Throughout all this he gained and held the respect of Latin American book dealers as true partners in the efforts to provide future generations as strong a representation as possible of the thoughts and actions by the women and men, prominent and humble, who shaped the society and histories of the Americas. All this he accomplished with clarity and humor and an unwavering focus on detail that garnered the respect of scholars, faculty and graduate students, as well as his SALALM colleagues. His legacy are Yale’s great collections, enduring friendships and mentees.

Peter T. Johnson
SALALM Treasurer

Klaus D. Vervuert – In Memoriam

El 9 de mayo de 2017 falleció Klaus D. Vervuert, editor y librero. Aunó estas dos pasiones en 1975 fundando en Frankfurt Iberoamericana Editorial Vervuert, editorial que se ha distinguido desde su nacimiento por la innovación en el campo de la investigación, el rigor científico y el amor también por las ediciones filológicas y clásicas. Asimismo, en 2004, fundó la Librería Iberoamericana en Madrid, que da servicio a numerosas bibliotecas académicas alrededor del mundo. Un amplio catálogo con una media de 75 publicaciones anuales respalda esta meticulosa labor premiada en varias ocasiones. Su función de difusor de las letras y culturas hispánicas se reconoció tanto en Alemania, con un doctorado honoris causa de la Universidad de Münster (2009), como recientemente en España, con la más alta distinción civil, la Condecoración de la Orden Civil de Alfonso X el Sabio, otorgada a Klaus Vervuert el 6 de abril de 2017.Que un alemán se hubiera interesado tantísimo por las humanidades del mundo hispánico como para montar un proyecto casi de vida alrededor era con frecuencia motivo de curiosidad de todo aquel que tenía la suerte de conocerle. La respuesta empezaba por un “porque había una necesidad”, y contaba cómo con 18 años, tras acabar la selectividad, se fue a vivir unos años a Argentina. A la vuelta, se matriculó en Románicas y Germánicas en Frankfurt. Por su estancia en Argentina, estaba interesado en América Latina y no encontraba el material que quería para su investigación, por lo que empezó a importar libros latinoamericanos. También por esos años, publicó dos libros, que eran bibliografías introductorias a la literatura latinoamericana y a la teoría de la dependencia de los países del tercer y primer mundo.

Y así germinó el que sería su proyecto, Iberoamericana Editorial Vervuert y Librería. Y este proyecto se fundamentó en tres pilares: garantizar la difusión de las humanidades referidas a América Latina y España desde un espacio libre e independiente; la formación de un equipo de trabajo que compartiera su pasión por las humanidades y, quizá el más difícil y romántico, situar al libro científico a la par que una novela en el (poco) espacio que los periódicos dedican a las novedades editoriales.

La editorial creció después de abrir la oficina en Madrid en el año 1996. De unos 1300 títulos que actualmente tiene publicados, más o menos 900 son de los últimos 15 años, con un 80% de ellos publicados dentro de colecciones cuyos comités —recordaba siempre— están formados por profesores procedentes de varios países. Gracias al prestigio que ha ido adquiriendo la editorial, existen numerosas instituciones y universidades (principalmente extranjeras), que compran toda la producción, es decir, están suscritos de forma anual, por lo que reciben mensualmente todo lo que se va publicando. Iberoamericana Vervuert se ha distinguido siempre por la innovación en el campo de la investigación con la publicación de libros de estudios culturales, multidisciplinares, pero sin perder de vista las ediciones filológicas y clásicas; colecciones de lingüística, pero también de sociolingüística; historia, arte, artes visuales en relación con la literatura o, por poner solo un ejemplo más, una colección dedicada exclusivamente a los estudios medievales. Con un total de 40 colecciones y dos revistas, abarca muchos ámbitos del campo de las humanidades.
Realmente, la decisión de tener una sede en España —que poco a poco se fue convirtiendo en la principal— fue puramente estratégica y de sentido común: tanto la actividad librera y de importador de libros de América Latina, así como la de editor de libros sobre humanidades en América Latina y España daba más posibilidades llevada a cabo desde Madrid que desde Frankfurt. Klaus Vervuert quería que editorial y librería, que actualmente trabajan mano a mano, fueran a su vez un foro para potenciar el diálogo cultural entre académicos, intelectuales e interesados en la materia. Apostó por la ardua labor de mantenerse al día de lo nuevo que se estaba investigando, para lo cual el equipo acude a congresos especializados, nacionales e internacionales, exponiendo libros, colaborando, escuchando ponencias, conociendo profesores y su investigación. Igual ocurre con la librería, presente en ferias internacionales de bibliotecarios y de libros (Frankfurt, Guadalajara, SALALM, ALA, etc.). Klaus Vervuert otorgaba la misma importancia al hecho de que un libro de la editorial se corrigiera tantas veces como fuera necesario hasta que resultara impecable, como a que la librería estuviera perfectamente surtida de las novedades del sector y que ofreciera libros seleccionados por su calidad, costara lo que costara conseguirlos.

Junto con la idea de que librería y editorial formaran parte de un proyecto común, Klaus Vervuert puso todo su empeño en formar a un equipo de “colaboradores”, como llamaba a sus empleados, que conocieran la labor de ambas y tuvieran una formación humanística. Puso tanto cuidado en su proyecto como en la formación de quienes trabajaban en él, y en recordarnos que para que funcionara el engranaje, debíamos trabajar librería y editorial como un equipo. Esto es lo que avala la continuidad de su proyecto, y Klaus Vervuert lo sabía bien.

Es, quizá, garantizar el posicionamiento del libro académico en la vida cultural española lo que no logró ver realizado. Se quejaba, no sin razón, de que contrariamente a otros países, donde las editoriales privadas académicas gozan de prestigio y valor, en España es una labor muy poco apreciada. Las novedades editoriales científico-académicas no se reseñan en periódicos o revistas de alcance nacional, frente a otros países, como Alemania por ejemplo, donde una edición crítica de un autor clásico recibiría una nota al menos en los principales periódicos.

Su equipo, nosotros, continuaremos su legado y mantendremos la exigencia y el rigor que Klaus nos pedía ya no a nosotros, sino a sí mismo. Formaremos a los recién incorporados al proyecto, tal como él nos enseñó a nosotros. Al final, el secreto no es otro que el trabajo bien hecho y el amor a lo que su proyecto común de librería y editorial manejan a diario: los libros. Estaremos a la altura, te lo debemos.

María Pizarro
Iberoamericana Editorial Vervuert

SALALM elections 2017

Click here to read the candidate’s biographies

Vice President/President-Elect

Melissa Guy, University of Texas at Austin
Craig Schroer, University of West Georgia


Sarah Aponte, CUNY Dominican Studies Institute
Jill Baron, Dartmouth College
Ryan Lynch, University of California Santa Barbara
Bronwen Maxson, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
Jennifer Osorio, UCLA
Antonio Sotomayor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

SALALM Statement on Trump Administration’s Travel and Immigration Policies

SALALM Statement on Trump Administration’s Travel and Immigration Policies

U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders on visas, immigration, and the building of a border wall between Mexico and the United States are of grave concern to the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM).  For over 60 years, we are established as a leading professional association of U.S.-based and international research libraries and archives working collaboratively with publishers and information professionals in Latin America to secure and make available research collections related to Latin America and the Caribbean. A cornerstone of our mission is to promote and build upon cooperative efforts to achieve better library services and information exchange across national borders.

As research librarians, archivists and information professionals, we are dedicated to promoting greater understanding of Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain, Portugal, and Latino/Hispanic communities within the United States and throughout the world.  We are committed to providing access to information to all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin or immigration status, and to encourage collaborative scholarly work across borders.  Any measure, state-sponsored or otherwise, that hinders users from accessing our resources or services, including the fear of deportation and the inability to travel to use our collections, undermines our mission.

The Trump Administration’s immigration ban creates a hostile climate for foreign students, scholars and information professionals, including librarians, archivists, booksellers and publishers who seek to collaborate with institutions and colleagues in the United States. It also may pose a threat to foreign-born permanent residents who face a hostile reception or detainment on their way back into this country, and subjects U.S. colleagues on professional travel abroad to possible retribution from other states.

As part of the larger community of librarians and archivists, we share the concerns of the American Library Association and the Association of College & Research Libraries that these orders are in opposition to the core values of our profession, including a commitment to intellectual freedom; access to information; diversity and inclusion; and privacy and confidentiality.

Dan C. Hazen Fellowship Awardee: 2017

On behalf of the review group, we are pleased to announce that Gayle Ann Williams, Latin American & Caribbean Information Services Librarian at Florida International University, has been selected to receive a Dan C. Hazen Fellowship in the research track category. The award of $1500 will support Gayle’s travel to the University of California-Riverside’s Tomás Rivera Library to examine materials held in Special Collections & University Archives in order to complete her project, Latin American Screenplays in Print: An Annotated Bibliography.

In Gayle’s words, “This bibliography seeks to represent an overlooked resource with regard to Latin American cinema studies, the screenplay . . . The wealth of bibliographies on Latin American cinema do not routinely include them nor have they been consistently reported in the few general bibliographies on screenplays in existence.” The work will include entries for about 400 titles with indices for geographic origin, type of film, unfilmed titles, directors and authors, and will include many unpublished scripts. The final manuscript should be completed in summer 2017 and will be submitted for publication consideration to the SALALM Editorial Board.

Congratulations, Gayle!

Juan Gelman Papers, 1927-2014 at Princeton University Library

Juan Gelman portrait (Juan Gelman Papers, Box B-000759, folder 6)
Juan Gelman portrait (Juan Gelman Papers, Box B-000759, folder 6)

The Princeton University Library’s Manuscripts Division has recently added the papers of the poet, translator and journalist Juan Gelman (1930-2014) to its premier collection of archives, manuscripts, and correspondence by Latin American writers and intellectuals.

Juan Gelman, considered by some critics to be the most important Argentinean poet of his generation, was born in Buenos Aires to Jewish immigrants from Ukraine.  Among his most important works of poetry are Violín y otras cuestiones (1956), El juego en que andamos (1959), Velorio del solo (1961), Gotán (1962), Cólera Buey (1964), Los poemas de Sidney West (1969), Fábulas (1971), Hechos y relaciones (1980) and Anunciaciones (1988).  Carlos Monsiváis described his work as “a back and forth between the atmospheres of the everyday and reflections on poetry writing, a sorrow for the lost homeland, for the loved ones destroyed by the dictatorship, for the revolution that never came, for exile compensated by a new sense of rootedness, by the composition of circumstances.”  Gelman’s work as a journalist started in 1954 when he became an editor of La Hora. From the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, he was editor and columnist for various left-leaning publications including Confirmado, Panorama, La Opinión, and Crisis. Years later, he would become a prolific contributor of the newspaper Página/12.

Gelman was forced into exile from Argentina after the 1976 military coup.  He lived in Europe until 1988, then in the United States and later in Mexico City where he settled permanently.  In 1976, his 20-year-old son and his son’s wife, who was seven months pregnant, became part of the thousands of desaparecidos or vanished by the state-sponsored terrorist campaign conducted by Argentina’s military junta. Gelman’s search for information about his family members’ fates made him a symbol of the fight for human rights. Years later he was able to find and identify the remains of his son, and he finally located his granddaughter in 2000.

Gelman’s literary achievements were recognized in 2007 by the Cervantes Prize, the highest literary honour in the Spanish-speaking world.  He also received, among many other awards and recognitions, Argentina’s National Poetry Prize in 1997, the Premio de Literatura Latinoamericana y del Caribe Juan Rulfo in 2000, and the Premio Reina Sofía de Poesía Iberoamericana in 2005.

Already open to researchers, the archive contains handwritten, typewritten, and printout drafts and notes of Juan Gelman’s writings, audiovisual materials, photographs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, printed materials, awards, analog and born-digital research and investigation files related to the search for his disappeared family members, and documentation related to politics and human rights abuses in Argentina and Uruguay.

A detailed finding aid created by Elvia Arroyo-Ramírez.

Fernando Acosta-Rodríguez
Librarian for Latin American, Iberian and Latino Studies Princeton University Library

SALALMISTAS in the news.

Holly Ackerman, Librarian for Latin American, Iberian and Latino Studies at Duke University, recently wrote a book chapter titled “Post-17D and Processes of Cuban National Reconciliation” in A New Chapter in US-Cuba Relations published by Springer. Find more information here.

Irene Muster, Associate Director of the Priddy Library for the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, Maryland discusses how Libraries can help support immigrants in American Libraries Magazine. Read more here.

Antonio Sotomayor, Assistant Professor, Historian, and Librarian of Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Illinois, recently discussed his book  The Sovereign Colony: Olympic Sport, National Identity, and International Politics in Puerto Rico with Gene Demby of NPR’s Code Switch. Click here to read the full interview.