2017 Conference Theme

LXII Annual Conference of the Seminar

on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials

— SALALM 2017

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

May 20 – 24, 2017

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Engaging Latin American Studies: Connecting Collections to Teaching and Learning


As Latin Americanists, we need not look far to find one of the most recognized voices on the topic of education. Paulo Freire’s formative work Pedagogy of the Oppressed profoundly influenced educators to opt out of the “banking method” of teaching in favor of a more student and dialogue-centered practice. As educators, librarians often find it challenging to move from an instructional approach that prioritizes the mechanics of library catalogs and databases to one that fosters broader information literacy skills such as critical thinking because much of our teaching is carried out as short segments of courses designed and taught by others. Our time and energy is typically devoted to building, digitizing, preserving and promoting collections. We focus on the needs of present and future researchers, like undergraduates enrolled in survey courses or graduate students who may one day need a primary source to develop their thesis on indigenous film in Latin America, for example. Only rarely do we have opportunities to think about what types of questions prompted those needs or how we might incorporate these concerns into our pedagogical practice to help us foster student engagement. This conference will be a forum for us to discuss how our teaching practice can build a bridge between our collections, our users and each other.

Our work as educators manifests itself in different ways. Archivists and subject specialists develop exhibits that present collection strengths. Through individual consultations and at the reference desk, librarians teach users how to discover the collections we have built and organized. We, too, are learners. The foundational professional relationships between collection development librarians and libreros are a compelling example of ongoing mutual learning. And our interactions as mentors to library students and with colleagues allow us to model professional best practices and to learn from one another about new resources and new ways of going about our work. Teaching and learning – in one form or another – are at the heart of everything we do.

These questions may serve to guide possible presentation and panel proposals:

  • How can we teach Latin American Studies databases in a way that will help balance North/South scholarly perspectives?
  • How do we curate exhibits that fairly represent Caribbean perspectives, including all manner of marginalized communities?
  • How do we encourage the use of Latino performing arts material in research projects?
  • How can technology contribute to the presentation, preservation and organization of Iberian ephemera?
  • What are best mentoring practices, addressing such issues as professional development, networking, library advocacy, etc.?

Because learning is an active endeavor and best achieved through thorough engagement, SALALM 2017 will feature hands-on workshops led by invited guests alongside panels as part of our regular program. Workshops will relate directly to the theme and help us develop as educators or extend to professional development that will help us stay abreast of current trends in a variety of library-related roles. This conference will also make space for and support intensive collaborative efforts (sometimes known as “researchathons”) to create shared resources during the conference.

Please submit presentation or panel proposals by the deadline, December 5, 2016. Proposal questions should be directed to SALALM President Daisy Domínguez (ddominguez@ccny.cuny.edu).

For questions about local arrangements and book exhibits, please contact the Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee, Barbara Álvarez (barbalva@umich.edu). Conference registration will begin in early 2017; please consult the conference website for dates.