Interview with SALALM Scholarship Awardee: Hanni Nabahe

How did you find out about the SALALM Scholarship?
I first heard about SALALM from Alda Allina Migoni, who had been a recipient of the scholarship. She encouraged me and gave me tips on the process.

Did you know about SALALM before you applied for the scholarship?
I had heard that another Knowledge River Scholar, George Apodaca, was involved in SALALM, which prompted me to look it up. But it was talking to Alda that really excited me about attending. The idea of spending time with other information professionals focused on Latin America was a huge draw.

Where did you earn your MLS/MLIS, what was your area of specialization, and when did you graduate?
I earned my MLIS in 2016 at the University of Arizona School of Information focused on Archives Studies and Digital Information Management.

What drew you to the field of librarianship/archival studies?
I had worked as a paraprofessional with my local public library for about 6 years when I decided to pursue an MLIS. At first I expected to remain a public librarian, but after having the chance to work as graduate assistant with Special Collections at the University of Arizona, I fell in love with archival studies. Aside from making it one of my concentrations (along with digital information management), I remained deeply involved in the field through a summer internship at UC San Diego, as SAA/Mosaic Fellow, and later when I obtained provisional certification from the ACA.

Do you have other graduate level degrees?
Inspired by an Association of Research Libraries leadership symposium, where participants from underrepresented backgrounds were encouraged to seek positions of management within libraries, I decided to pursue a full-time MBA program at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. I am currently completing my last semester and can’t wait to join an academic institution as librarian or archivist.

How did you become interested in Latin America/Iberia? Describe your language abilities and experiences studying and/or traveling in Latin America.
I was born and raised in Southern Mexico (Veracruz), immigrating to the U.S. near the end of high school. As a native Spanish speaker, it was easy (and the fulfillment of a life goal) to take on Portuguese during my undergrad studies, when I lived in housing designed to immerse students in their chosen foreign language. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Chile and most recently to Ecuador, where I served as interpreter for a team bringing basic medical services to the indigenous people of the Amazonian region.

Have you worked with a Latin American/Iberian archival or library collection? In what capacity?
No, I have not had the chance yet, but would jump at the opportunity to do so!

When and where did you attend the annual SALALM conference?
I attended SALALM in May 2016, traveling to the University of Virginia while the rest of my cohort took part in our MLIS graduation ceremonies. I instantly felt at home at SALALM and have remained thankful for the chance to spend that week learning from such outstanding SALALMistas.

What was the most interesting or unexpected thing that you learned at the conference?
My favorite part was hearing Spanish, Portuguese, and English spoken equally throughout! I have never felt such sense of belonging as I did that week! I particularly appreciated the theme of “Nuestro Norte es el Sur” and the emphasis on learning from the work being performed by visiting librarians from Latin America. As the conference wrapped up, I knew I had found my people.

Did you attend any committee meetings?
Yes, I attended meetings in Finance, Constitution and Bylaws, and for Marginalized Peoples and Ideas, all areas I hope to become more involved with in the future.

Are you currently working? Where, and in what job?
Aside from attending business school full-time, I continue working as substitute librarian for my local public library system. The branch where I am based, one of the most diverse in the county, counts with a robust collection of Spanish materials for all ages and I cherish the opportunity to serve our Latinx and indigenous populations every week.

Was SALALM helpful in the development of you career? In what way?
It continues to shape my career aspirations, as I follow the paths other members are taking, and continue to be inspired by the work accomplished by the organization. SALALM both inspires and reassures me that I am in the right field.

Interview with SALALM Scholarship Awardee: Lara Aase

When and where did you attend the annual SALALM conference?

Lara Aase with Xelena Gonzalez

The scholarship (thanks, SALALM!) covered my Charlottesville conference attendance in 2016, and my second conference was last year in Ann Arbor.

What was the most interesting or unexpected thing that you learned at the conference?

At Charlottesville, I was thrilled to meet a group of like-minded colleagues who were both professionally driven and simpaticxs (not an easy combination to find in academic circles!). At Ann Arbor, even people I hadn’t met before seemed like family.

How did you find out about the SALALM Scholarship?

At the beginning of my MLIS, I hunted down a professor with a great reputation as a mentor for prospective academic librarians and asked if she’d take me on. Her very first piece of advice was to join SALALM. Eventually I gathered my courage and the (minimal, student-rate) membership fee and joined, applying for the scholarship shortly after that.

Where did you earn your MLS/MLIS and what was your area of specialization?

I graduated from the iSchool at the University of Washington in 2016. The program didn’t have separate specialization tracks, but I knew early on that I wanted to focus on rare books and special collections. UW is strong in theory, research, and technology training, so I was lucky to be able to enhance my old-school rare book knowledge with new ideas about web access, user experience, and digital humanities.

What drew you to the field of librarianship/archival studies?

When I was in high school, I took a career inventory test that told me to be a librarian, but I didn’t listen until I’d been through two graduate programs in other fields and years of work as a freelance musician.

Despite having seven separate student jobs in university libraries, all along I thought I wanted to be a professor, because that’s what you do with a PhD. I started my doctoral program in Spanish Literature to work with paleography and old books, but somehow it didn’t occur to me until I was ABD that I was still hanging out in school because I liked libraries.

It took me another decade of library associate and technician jobs before I was ready to bite the bullet and get the MLIS. And then I discovered that I love finding information, organizing it, and getting it into the hands of people who need it. I used to think librarianship would be just a practical career choice, but now I’m continuously rediscovering that it’s a fascinating discipline.

How did you become interested in Latin America/Iberia?

My first non-English languages were French in high school and Italian in undergrad, and when I needed to add another language for my MA in Comp Lit I learned Spanish. One of my first courses was in medieval Spanish literature, which got me interested in paleography, which led to a job at the Spanish Colonial Research Center at UNM and later at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in Toronto. Between graduate programs I lived in Costa Rica for a year. But I didn’t get past my “high affective filter” until I worked at a public library in Illinois doing Spanish-language programming.

Have you worked with a Latin American/Iberian archival or library collection? In what capacity?

My job at the Spanish Colonial Research Center involved indexing personal names, place names, and other subjects from 16th- and 17th-century New Mexican documents. At the University of Toronto I did Romance-language cataloging, mostly with Spanish materials, and at the Fisher Rare Book Library I dealt with acquisitions and descriptions of early published books in Portuguese as well as Spanish “hojas sueltas.” In Illinois I was the selector for Spanish and Latin American publications.

What is your current position?

I’m the solo librarian at the Center of Southwest Studies special collections library at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.

Was SALALM helpful in the development of your career? In what way?

Yes, both theoretically and practically. SALALM gave me something my MLIS program couldn’t: connection to academic librarians and library workers who speak a language other than English, who are concerned with library users not best served by mainstream collections, who have a vision beyond the U.S. SALALM is also an excellent network for hearing about job possibilities.

Photo: Lara Aase (left) with Xelena Gonzalez at ALA Midwinter, 2018

Fall 2017 Dan C. Hazen SALALM Fellowship Award Announced!

Bronwen Maxson, Betsaida Reyes and Alison Hicks have been awarded the Fall 2017 Dan C. Hazen SALALM Fellowship Award for their original research project proposal, “Practices of Information Professionals in Mexico.” The project will gather data about the work of information literacy instruction librarians and other information professionals in Mexico, and seeks to gain insights into how information professionals can prepare students for “global mobility from an information perspective.”

The award will cover expenses for two of the PIs to conduct focus group research in Mexico following the July 2018 SALALM conference. The preliminary results of the first phase of the project, a survey of Mexican librarians that teach information literacy, will be presented at the conference.

Bronwen Maxson is Romance Languages Librarian at the University of Colorado Boulder, Betsaida Reyes is Librarian for Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kansas, and Alison Hicks is Lecturer in Library and Information Science, Department of Information Studies, University College, London.

Congratulations, Bronwen, Betsaida and Alison!

Book Report from the Southern Cone: Santiago and Buenos Aires

The long flight to the other side of the hemisphere had a Southern Cone touch with two award-winning films by Chilean director Pablo Larraín: ‘Jackie’ and ‘Neruda’ along with ‘Cien años de perdón,’ an Argentine-Spanish co-production.

After almost a five-year absence, this will be a 48-hour stay in Santiago. Although unplanned, the visit coincided with a small book fair, accompanied by a book festival with local bookshops staying open late. Similar events were also taking place in Lima and Madrid, all as part of the Día Internacional del Libro.

Located only two blocks away from my hotel, Metales Pesados is perhaps the best book shop in Chile, with co-owner and poet Sergio Parra, impeccably dressed in black, always ready to answer any inquiry about art and literature. This morning he is hosting some Colombian visitors but recognizes familiar faces from the United States already browsing at one end of the store. Later that day I will stop by to donate several copies of my New York Times Book Review, the ones I don’t get a chance to read and I carry on long flights hoping to catch-up. I can never bring myself to discard  them, always looking for an avid reader who will accept the weekly publication. This rainy Autumn day I have found such a character.

The shop carries both a broad selection of the country’s scholarly and independent publishing output and world art and literarure in translation. Today they are out of a title I saw at New York’s Latin American Studies Association (LASA) conference and I get a referral to the neighboring book store Prólogo, a block away.  The same street also houses La Tienda Nacional and a smaller outlet with several graphic novels, both local and in translation…then there is Ulises only two blocks away. But that would be after a visit to the museum nearby.

The late 19th century Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is one of the oldest cultural institutions in South America. Unfortunately today it’s closed for renovations and so is the book shop. But  the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, on the opposite end of the building, is showcasing an exhibit of late 20th Century Chilean art, Coleccion Mac: Post 90. One of the pieces on display Estudio para torrente altamente erótico is by José Pedro Godoy. A controversial exhibit of Godoy’s art a few weeks earlier had a piece stolen that was eventually recovered.


No longer raining, the second day will start with our local distributor and I visiting the Plaza de Armas (Main Square) in downtown Santiago for theopen air book fair, supplementing the previous day’s scholarly-heavy book outing. After lunch, it will be a visit to the Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral, named for Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, the first Latin American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. It houses a bookstore among its many visual and performing arts venues. Today there is small lending library in the adjoining plaza between buildings with users encouraged to exchange books.

A last minute stop at Librería Ulises will round-up the visit to Santiago that was coming to end sooner than expected. Now it was time to (re)arrange luggage to accommodate several heavy books.

The two-hour Air Canada flight to Buenos Aires appears to be popular with porteños for a quick shopping weekend excursion to acquire goods less expensive than in Argentina. I was probably one of the few non-Mercosur passengers.

The Argentine capital hosted its own Noche de Librerías earlier in March and was now preparing for the 43rd Buenos Aires Book Fair, one of the oldest book events in the Spanish-speaking world. The city has been noted as the “book capital of the world,” with Avenida Corrientes (only three blocks from my hotel) home to several of those bookstores. As if there weren’t enough such cultural outlets, Avenida Santa Fe, not far away, has a new one. Plenty of places to spend the next four days book-hunting.

On a late Sunday morning most visitors to the Argentine capital visit the San Telmo open-air market. This bright sunny day seems to have attracted a large portion of Brazilian tourists in Buenos Aires. Arts and crafts, food, antiques, old photos and books, stamps, money bills, jewlry and all sorts of collectibles along with plenty of tango music and dancers can be found all over. Interestingly, in the 20 years I’ve coming here I had never noticed images of same-sex tango dancers (both men and women), this time both in filoteado art and photographs. Perhaps reflecting the recent Queer Tango movement.

The long walk was enough to work out an appetite long before the traditionally late lunch (and dinner) Argentina shares with Spain. On a previous visit I was invited to join a group hosting the president of the American Library Association for dinner (at 7pm). Later, his wife wondered why the locals had hardly eaten. Could it had been the high price? She wondered. A fellow California colleague and I would eat a salad at our usual dinner time (6pm) before joining porteños for a 9pm dinner.

Sunday’s are traditionally a family day and I often go to the movies, but this time I have arranged to meet a retired journalist friend. Where else? The coffee shop at the Centro de la Cooperación Cultural, which also happens to have a bookstore. A good excuse to arrive early and take notes/photos of the books/magazines not yet in our library collection. The next two hours would be a lively conversation on local socio-political issues, publishing, literature, books (print and digital). Then came the question about the United States presidential election outcome! But it was closing time at the Cooperación.

SALALM librarians had one more day before the Book Fair’s opening day. The Librería de Mujeres and Librería de la imagen, on the same street not far from the hotel, were a logical starting point. At both places we had to ring the door bell to be allowed inside. Initially, the staff seemed less than friendly at our group, turning immediately to the book’s bibliographic details and asking about removing the plastic wraps or asking to open the vitrine to see more expensive/limited edition books. In the end, they warmed-up to us after it became clear we were going to buy something!

After lunch it was a good time to run across Avenida 9 de Julio, right by the iconic Obelisk. I’ve never been able to cross all 14 lanes with one green light. The excursion was to the Centro Cultural Borges to visit a bookshop that had been closed the previous day. After buying a book on peronismo posters I hurried back to the hotel when I  wanted to take pictures of other interesting book covers and realized my Iphone was missing. I had left it in the room…what a relief!

The day we had all been awaiting was here. Los Angeles was the Ciudad invitada (Guest City), and the U.S. Embassy generously provided a shuttle to transport ten librarians from the United States on a book-buying trip as part of the many activities it was sponsoring for the event.  The next three weeks would book readings, music, and art showcasing LA culture. 

Clouds pointed to an approaching storm that arrived once we were inside La Rural Fair Grounds, a good reason to stay indoors all day and wonder from pabellón to pabellón (red, blue, yellow and green), if only the carpet’s color could point to where we were.

To close the Fair’s first day, our  group  visited a public library where we took refuge from the rain and enjoyed meeting local colleagues. Empanadas with a nice glass of Argentine wine was a great way to end the day. The Embassy’s shuttle provided a much-welcome ride back to the hotel on a rainy evening.

The next three professional days afforded the many book professionals uninterrupted time to become acquainted with a wide variety of books and publishers. At the combined stand of Argentine University Presses it was certain to meet a fellow SALALM colleague. In an apparent effort to highlight its return on investment, the stand displayed a big sing that read: “academic books represents 7% of Argentine publishing.” Still other librarians could be found at the Frente Latinoamericano Editorial, new this year. Independent publishers like La Sensación, Siete Logos and Todo libro es político (where I joked with one the staff asking  if having a beard was a prerequisite to work there)  were a good complement to scholarly titles from Prometeo, Biblos, Corregidor, Siglo XXI, Capital Intelectual and the Fondo de Cultura Económica. The latter confuses the country-based approval plans from many of our libraries as it publishes in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Spain.

For several years now, the Book Fair haa also hosted a series of related events during the professional days: for translators, academic publishers, children’s book illustrators and librarians. This year libraries will  play a key role beyond the professional days. The Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) was the official representative from California’s largest and diverse city. LA in BA showcased a library maker-space at the joint booth with the United States Embassy and LAPL members would be staffing the booth during the times the fair is open to the public.

I was probably boarding my flight back to California as local author Luisa Valenzuela delivered the keynote speech (video, text) at the opening ceremony. Her key words: Freedom, Empathy, Education, Inclusion are also ones that resonate with libraries on this side of the Equator.

*See Facebook photo album with book covers on various subjects.

*The acquisitions trip was supported in part by Stanford’s Center for Latin American Studies, Stanford Libraries and the Buenos Aires Book Fair.

*Images: Feria del Libro Plaza de Armas, Feria Internacional del Libro de Buenos Aires, John Szabo (LAinBA).

Adan Griego, Curator for Latin American Collections, Stanford University.

Meet the 2017 SALALM Conference Scholarship Winners: Mark Sandoval

Mark Sandoval

Mark Sandoval is completing his Master of Arts in Library and Information Science from the University of Arizona. As a member of Knowledge River, he is committed to serving and advocating for the information needs of Latino, Native American, and other minority groups.

Mark is from Lebanon, TN, and graduated in May 2016 from Centre College in Danville, KY, with a B.A. in anthropology/sociology and a minor in Spanish. He studied at the Universidad Marista de Mérida in Mexico for one semester in 2015 and took a month-long course in Argentina in 2016. He served on Centre College’s Library Advisory Committee throughout his undergraduate years.

He has been working as a graduate assistant at the University of Arizona Special Collections Library since August 2016. He has processed a collection on the vaudevillian and composer Joseph E. Howard; completed some research for the current exhibit, Visions of the Borderlands: Myths and Realities; and has worked on digitizing a photograph collection. He has also volunteered at the Nashville Public Library.

He is still deciding whether to pursue a career in special collections or in public libraries.

Meet the 2017 SALALM Conference Scholarship Winners: María Victoria Fernández

María Victoria Fernández

María Victoria Fernández is a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin completing a dual-master’s degree in Latin American Studies and Information Studies. She is interested in archives and special collections librarianship with a focus on Latin American cultural heritage materials and is currently working at the Benson Latin American Collection as a Digital Scholarship Graduate Research Assistant. María Victoria is specifically working on the Reading the First Books: Multilingual, Early-Modern OCR for Primeros Libros project, an NEH-funded digital humanities initiative developing computational tools for the automatic transcription of books printed in the Spanish Americas before 1601 found in the Primeros Libros de las Américas collection. Through her work on this project, she has merged her academic interests in history of the book, digital humanities, sixteenth-century Latin American history, and indigenous studies.

Prior to this position, María Victoria was a Reference Services Graduate Research Assistant at the Harry Ransom Center and completed an internship in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division of the Benson Latin American Collection as an SAA/ARL Mosaic Fellow. She has also interned at the Library of Congress Hispanic Division as an editorial assistant for the Handbook of Latin American Studies.

María Victoria holds a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Latin American Studies from Dartmouth College. During her time at Dartmouth, she worked at Rauner Special Collections Library as an archives student assistant and Edward Connery Lathem ’51 Special Collections Fellow, processing archival collections, conducting a born-digital materials survey, and assisting the library’s education and outreach program design and facilitate undergraduate class sessions.

Meet the 2017 SALALM Conference Scholarship Winners: Itza Carbajal

Itza Carbajal

Itza Alejandra Carbajal is the daughter of Honduran parents, a native of New Orleans, and a child of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Her roots begin three generations ago when one of her great grandfathers landed in the port city of New Orleans from France. He then travel by sea to Honduras, a country in Central America. There her paternal grandmother would be born. She would become a school teacher, a mayor, and a mother of four. On the other side of the border in the early 20th century, her maternal grandfather escaped military repressions in El Salvador. He would eventually meet Itza’s maternal grandmother and give birth to eight children including her mother.

Itza by chance came to life in New Orleans and never claimed another place as home until 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck. She left her city by force and has resided in Texas ever since. Now she lives in Austin, Texas currently pursuing a Master of Science in Information Studies with a focus on archival science and digital records at the University of Texas at Austin School of Information. She obtained a dual-degree Bachelor of Arts in History and English with a concentration on creative writing and legal studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio. During that time, she thought she wanted to be a lawyer then she thought she wanted to write children’s books, but soon realized that she still had to explore some more.

Today, she finds herself exploring mainly issues related to identity formation, memory and ways of remembering, the hows and whos of the production of history, and the implications of the digital on cultural memory. Her research includes the role of community archives in shaping collective memories, the use of archives as centers of power, archives and memory retrieval, and the use of digital archives as a response to the historic erasure of marginalized peoples.

As a result of these experiences, Itza Carbajal represents many things – a transnational daughter of immigrants, a displaced Hurricane Katrina survivor, a woman of color, a product of neoliberal policies in Latin America, and a child raised in a working class environment.

More at

Interview with SALALM Scholarship Awardee: Emma Whittington

Portrait of Emma Whittington, SALALM Conference Attendance Scholarship awardee

How did you find out about the SALALM Scholarship?

I first heard about the SALALM scholarship through the UT iSchool’s listerserv, where a Dean had sent the announcement. I was also reminded by various colleagues at the library where I work.

Did you know about SALALM before you applied for the scholarship?

I had heard of SALALM before I applied; many of my colleagues are members. However, I didn’t know much about the organization or their aims until I applied to attend the conference.

Where did you earn your MLS/MLIS and what was your area of specialization?

I am earning my MIS at the University of Texas Austin. I am concurrently earning an MA in Latin American Studies, so that is my “specialization,” though within the iSchool program I focus specifically on archives.

What drew you to the field of librarianship/archival studies?

I had a long-standing interest in libraries and archives and recognized that I would likely get a Master’s in the field as early as my second year of undergrad. It wasn’t until I began doing archival research for my undergrad thesis that I started seriously looking into programs and considering my options. I did research using the University of Virginia’s Jorge Luis Borges collection, which led me to apply to a fellowship with the Rare Book School (RBS). These two experiences played a significant role in solidifying my desire to pursue a graduate degree, as did my subsequent position as a Programs Assistant at RBS.

When did or when do you expect to graduate?

May 2018

Do you have other graduate level degrees?

I do not currently possess any other graduate degrees, but will get an MA in Latin American Studies from the Lozano Long Institute at the same time that I receive my MIS, May 2018. The opportunity to work towards both degrees simultaneously has allowed some wonderful and unique chances to combine archival theory and practice with scholarly, archival research and helps me to think about the functions of the archive from many different perspectives.

How did you become interested in Latin America/Iberia? Describe your language abilities and experiences studying and/or traveling in Latin America.

I always say my “way in” to Latin American was through Jorge Luis Borges. I first fell in love with his writing when I was an undergraduate at the University of Virginia reading his short stories in a seminar. It wasn’t until I learned of UVa’s incredible collection of Borges materials that I really started to consider how I could turn my interest in Borges into a career. During my thesis, I went to Buenos Aires to conduct interviews with various antiquarian booksellers—I was studying the history of several of the major publishers who published Borges material. This lead me to eventually move to Buenos Aires in 2013, where I spent one year living and working. I moved there specifically because of my interest in Argentine authors and my desire to become a confident Spanish speaker. While there, I traveled within the country and also made trips to Uruguay, Chile, and Bolivia. If all goes as planned, I will be back in Buenos Aires to conduct fieldwork for my Master’s thesis in the Summer of 2017. Meanwhile I am happy to take any trips to Latin America that I can; I’m currently writing this from Mexico City!

Have you worked with a Latin American/Iberian archival or library collection? In what capacity?

I serve as Graduate Research Assistant for the Special Collections department at the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas Austin. I have held this position since September 2016. It’s a unique opportunity to get a feel for the day-to-day work that goes on in a Latin American archive, including everything from assisting researchers in locating records, pulling collection materials, maintaining order in the stacks, and processing archival collections. Since beginning, I have processed three collections. The first was a small collection of 47 items, all related to the Concrete Poetry movement in Argentina. The second was a collection of papers and business documents of William Schuchardt, who served as American Consulate to Mexico in the 1800s. The most recent project was a collection of legal records related to the Hacienda Palmira, an important property located in the region of Coahuila y Tejas and owned by the influential Madero Family. In addition to these collections, I also played a role in processing the Benson’s recent Ernesto Cardenal acquisition, and over the summer I held a temporary position at the Harry Ransom Center working to digitize materials in the Gabriel Garcia Márquez archive. Next semester I will begin working on the papers of Jacqueline E. Barnitz, a noted historian of Latin American art.

Were you able to attend the annual SALALM conference? When and where?

I was fortunate to receive a scholarship that allowed me to attend the May 2016 SALALM conference in Charlottesville, Virginia. The conference was a bit of a homecoming for me, as I completed my bachelor’s degree at UVa and loved having the chance to see old faces alongside new ones.

What was the most interesting or unexpected thing that you learned at the conference?

What surprised me the most was the camaraderie of the members, many of whom have been attending for many years. SALALM is one of the smaller conferences I’ve attended and I was really impressed by how well people seemed to know on another. I was also struck by the fact that many of the people in attendance hold long-standing affiliations with their institutions and have careers spanning 30+ years—something to aspire to!

Did you attend any committee meetings?

I did. I attended the committee meeting on Digital Primary Resources.

If you gave a paper or presentation at the conference, give a brief description.

I did not give a presentation because I was intimidated by the prospect. Now that I have been to a few presentations, met some participants, and gotten a feel for what the typical talk looks like, I will be much more likely to participate in the future.

Was SALALM helpful in the development of your career? In what way?

Yes. As someone who is still transitioning into the professional world, the exposure to the SALAM community was a great way to see who professionals balance their own work at their institutions with their desire to participate in professional development events. Many attendees came in and out of sessions or attended for 4/5 days; as someone who hadn’t really attended a major conference before last May I think the biggest thing I learned was protocol. I also really, really appreciated going to the panels; I know that I want to present at conferences down the line but until I saw other people give talks I wasn’t sure what that format was supposed to look like. It was great to see people who gave formal presentations right alongside more casual, informal talks that became opportunities to share professional frustrations or to get feedback on specific issues. It was a great experience.

I never would have been able to attend the conference without the scholarship. I was also very grateful for the per diem, which was more than I typically spend as a broke grad student. That generosity allowed me to pick up the tab for a couple of lunches I had with folks I met at the conference, which I think sent a great message about community building among SALALM. Also, the fact that the conference was in Charlottesville meant that I was able to see a lot of old friends and co-workers who’ve meant a lot to me over the years; I stayed for several days after the conference ended and used that time to catch up with old professors and mentors, as well as took a couple days to visit old friends and family. I am so grateful to have had that time as I don’t foresee being able to go back anytime soon.

Is the SALALM Scholarship listed on your CV?

Yes, and I suspect that having that award listed has helped me greatly. Since I was able to add that detail to my CV in May, I was hired first for a position at the Harry Ransom Center—digitizing the García Márquez manuscripts—and later for my position as a Graduate Research Assistant at the Benson’s Latin American Collection.

Interview with SALALM Scholarship Awardee: Talía Guzmán-González

Portrait of Talía Guzmán-González, SALALM Conference Attendance Scholarship awardee

How did you find out about the SALALM Scholarship?

I received an email through my MLS program at the University of Maryland, but I had seen it announced on the SALALM website before as well.

Did you know about SALALM before you applied for the scholarship?

Yes, I’ve known about SALALM since I was in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin. My friend Paloma Celis-Carbajal frequently talked about this great organization focused on Latin American and Iberian collections. As a graduate student in the Portuguese program, I was intrigued by the things I could do with my degree besides teaching.

Where did you earn your MLS/MLIS and what was your area of specialization?

I completed my MLS degree in December, 2016, at the University of Maryland in College Park. I did the general MLS program, but took many classes on Archives.

What drew you to the field of librarianship/archival studies?

As I was completing my graduate studies in Luso-Brazilian literature, I wanted to expand my professional options beyond the tenure path. I did go to the job market, had job offers and even worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Maryland, but becoming an academic librarian was really what interested me because it would allow me to continue working in the field of Latin American studies (beyond my Luso-Brazilian specialty), stay up to date with recent publications and research trends, and participate in a larger academic community. Besides, librarians are awesome, who wouldn’t want to be a librarian?

When did or when do you expect to graduate?

I graduated in December 2016.

Do you have other graduate level degrees?

Yes, I have a Ph.D. in Luso-Brazilian studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

How did you become interested in Latin America/Iberia? Describe your language abilities and experiences studying and/or traveling in Latin America.

I am from Puerto Rico, so you can say that I have, in a way, always been interested in Latin America and the Caribbean. As a child I went to a summer camp, Campamento Pioneril 26 de Julio, in Varadero, Cuba. There I met kids from all over the world, and I became friends with many kids from Latin America. I gained a sense of a world much larger than my island and a sort of regional identity. That’s probably the first time I became consciously interested in Latin America. Later, I studied my Bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies at the University of Puerto Rico, then my MA in Portuguese at Indiana University. I’m a native speaker of Spanish and have near-native fluency in Portuguese and English. I can read French and Italian.

Have you worked with a Latin American/Iberian archival or library collection? In what capacity?

I am currently a Reference Librarian in the Hispanic Division at the Library of Congress, where I am the Luso-Brazilian specialist. I am also the recommending officer for Central American countries. This is my first job as a librarian, so I can’t complain: I am working with a pretty amazing collection!

Were you able to attend the annual SALALM conference? When and where?

I attended the 2015 Conference at Princeton University. I think it was fortuitous that my first conference at SALALM focused on Brazil. In a way it was as if all my interests came together in one place. I felt like I had finally found my people!

What was the most interesting or unexpected thing that you learned at the conference?

So many interesting things: the presentations were really good, the tour of the Special Collections and Archives (seeing those letters by Gabriel García Márquez and the book on Palés Matos . . . wow). I also liked Latin American Research Resources Project presentations. I had been at academic conferences before, but this aspect of sharing information and ongoing work was really refreshing and useful to see for a newcomer like me. Unexpected? The party! Librarians dancing and having fun, that was a great.

Did you attend any committee meetings?

I attended several meetings, to see what they were about: the Digital Primary Resources, Membership, and Marginalized Peoples and Ideas. All very interesting.

If you gave a paper or presentation at the conference, give a brief description.

I did not present in my first SALALM, but I will be presenting a paper in the upcoming conference in Ann Arbor.

Was SALALM helpful in the development of your career? In what way?

Yes. SALALM has been helpful in so many ways already. The Conference Attendance Scholarship allowed me to go to Princeton and finally see what SALALM was all about, meet professionals in the field and students like myself who are just starting their careers. Everyone was really supportive and welcoming. Although my career is just starting, I feel like I have a network of people I can count on for professional advice.

Is the SALALM Scholarship listed on your CV?

Proudly and prominently!

30 años no es nada… Celebrating Guadalajara’s International Book Fair at 30

It was only fitting that over 30 SALALM librarians (and vendors) would be among the many profesionales del libro participating in what has become the most important book event in the Spanish-speaking world: the 30th Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL).

While welcoming speeches at FIL’s opening ceremony were taking place, I visited Mexico’s Ministry of Education stand where one of the staff reiterated that textbooks currently in use in the country’s primary schools were available to libraries from Mexican consular offices in the United States. Some are quite popular at our Education Library. The most recent editions now include the iconic image I remember from my first grade class in a rural school in Northern Mexico.

A few days later, at a lunch with several local colleagues, I shared my hope that libraries and books would become a more constant presence in the everyday life of the country’s school-age children, more than they were for me 50 years earlier. Mexico continues to lag behind other Latin American countries on the number of books an average citizen reads per year. A recent news article notes a similar deficiency: 92% of Mexico’s municipalities have a library, but many are in poor condition.

fridaOnly a few steps away I found a young adult book on Friday Kahlo I had seen at LIBER-Barcelona a few week earlier, certainly of interest to general and scholarly audiences. In fact, there is quite a variety of original children’s literature in Spanish from publishers like CIDCLI, Tecolote or Ekaré for a project worthy of our academic libraries: collecting a representative sample of this vibrant publishing output.

luchalibreMarisolI always look forward to the Artes de México stand for a colorful display of original arts and crafts adorning its well-known bilingual monographic issues (on food, religion, art, etc.) and this year it did not disappoint: a life size model of two luchadores to showcase its recent books on wrestling was very popular. I first encountered lucha libre at a relative’s home in the neighboring town where I grew up. The small black and white screen would become alive when a man with a bow tie announced: “en esta esquina…” The good guys were Santo, Blue Demon, Mil Máscaras and Huracán Ramírez, battling long-haired malevolent-looking characters. Another set worthy of public and academic library collections.

Although the book fair brings many popular titles, there is also plenty of scholarly material. One of this year’s many novedades was the facsimile reprint of Machete, the short lived publication of Mexico’s Communist Party from the early 1980s, complemented by free publications from the the national election commission or the Jalisco electoral institute. I almost missed the print report on the 2014 Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College massacre, also freely available, at the collective stand of the Jesuit institutions in Mexico

The International pavilion has expanded and included the Área de Libro Electrónico with presentations on recent e-book developments. There were also publisher associations (cámaras/gremios) from Latin America and Spain. For me the most exciting aisle was “JJ,” covering LGBT, poetry, or hand made books.

PalomaFIL2016 FIL offers competing events, both onsite and at various venues throughout the city: book launching ceremonies, live performances, films, museum exhibits and conferences like the Coloquio Internacional de Bibliotecarios. This year some SALALM members participated with very well received presentations (yes, I heard it from multiple sources). And, if anyone ever wanted proof of other activities behind the scenes, just ask Wisconsin’s Latin American librarian about packing over a dozen boxes of books! Jesús Alonso Regalado (pictured above at UNAM’s stand) has also documented his detailed FIL experience purchasing-packing-shipping materials.
It’s common practice at book fairs to have a “guest of honor” (a country, or a city). This year it was Latin America and Madrid will be featured for 2017, just in case you want to plan ahead.

As the popular tango notes, “…20 años no es nada…” so too, we can say about FIL “…30 años no es nada…” with best wishes for many more years.

1) Jesús Alonso Regalado-University at Albany, SUNY.

2) Perez, Sébastien & Benjamin Lacombe. Frida. Madrid: Edelvives, 2016.

3) Lucha Libre-Artes de México photo by Marisol Ramos, University of Connecticut.

4) Paloma Celis Carbajal and Nora Díaz. University of Wisconsin-Madison.

5) FIL image

Adan Griego, Curator for Latin American, Mexican American and Iberian Collections.
Stanford University Libraries.