Dear all,

I hope this message finds you well. I have been meaning to write this message for a while, but a few personal mishaps have gotten in the way. But here I am, eager to serve the organization with enthusiasm, modesty, and much hope. I am very excited for the coming months of preparation and collaborative work towards our annual conference in Bogotá.

Before I continue, I want to send my deep sense of solidarity to our colleagues in the south and across the eastern part of the US who have been impacted by hurricane Ida, particularly those in the Gulf Coast. Your steadfastness in continuing the work for SALALM, while recovering your personal losses, is truly admirable and inspiring.

I also want to thank those that worked on the “SALALM Statement on Repression of Civil Rights in Nicaragua and Cuba.” I am glad to see yet another instance of SALALM contributing to raise consciousness over a pressing matter in the region.

After the end of the 2021 conference, I continued to fill vacated Chairships for some committees/groups, and from the bottom of my heart I thank those that have accepted to chair the different committees/subcommittees/positions. The updated list of new Chairs has appeared in the 2021/2022 Committee Selection Form that Carol circulated earlier in the month. More recently, Talía Guzmán-González will be our new Social Media Coordinator! You might notice that we are still looking for the Chair of Outreach/Enlace. I’ll take this opportunity to make another call for volunteers to chair this important committee. Or if you know of someone that would be a good option, please let me know and I can reach out to them. With this said, I want to remind you of the importance of committee work for the organization. I know it takes time from our busy schedules, but the work of these committees is the backbone of our organization and moves our organization forward. We rarely work alone, and there are plenty of people willing to offer advice on how to navigate the duties of committees. We welcome anyone that wishes to serve, but if you are newish have the inclination to serve, you are most welcome to contact me. We highly value new perspectives in the leadership of our organization. Committee work is the best way to know more about the cool stuff we do at SALALM.

We excitedly continue planning our next SALALM meeting. As a reminder, our 2022 annual conference will be in Bogotá, Colombia, from May 4 to 7 (immediately following the FILBo). The most important update is the trip to Bogotá in August to scout the facilities and conference spaces. Unfortunately, I was not able to go, but Hortensia did. She and I kept fluent communication throughout her trip and she sent me plenty of photographs for me to evaluate at the three host institutions, Biblioteca Nacional (BN), Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango (BLAA), and the Instituto Caro y Cuervo (ICC), in addition to the streets in the Barrio La Candelaria and the Hotel Tequendama, where the conference venues will be located. I was blown away! The ICC, with a campus location in the Barrio La Candelaria, is truly a gem of Latin American architecture and beautiful quaint streets with mountain views. Their rooms are equipped with the latest technology and ample spaces. The BN and the BLAA have wonderful spaces as well. We will definitely learn a lot from the excellent services they provide. Hortensia also visited the magnificent Teatro Colón, which our hosts were able to secure for our opening ceremony and keynote speaker. Breathtaking! I encourage you to Google it and see for yourself! Finally, the Hotel Tequendama seems to be a prime venue, their breakfast options are delicious (breakfast is included in the price of the stay!), and the service top of the line. It will be a very pleasant stay.

Our 67th annual conference is entitled “Voicing the Past: Libraries, Archives, and Cultural Institutions in the Making of Latin America and the Caribbean” (Vocalizando el pasado: Bibliotecas, archivos e instituciones culturales en la construcción de América Latina y el Caribe). This theme is an invitation to critically assess the ways in which we, as information specialists and culture professionals, actively and purposefully highlight (to voice) the roles of those groups, or resources, that have been undervalued or hidden. The focus here is to surpass the traditional views of our professions as just gatekeepers of information and/or cultural artifacts, and instead evaluate our agency in underscoring and promoting resources that have been neglected or understudied. While the topic title has an historical undertone, it is meant to be inclusive of time-periods (past or present-day resources) and topics. That is, the perspective includes areas such as instruction, reference, research consultations, digital scholarship, collection curation, museum exhibits, cataloging, conservation and preservation, and many more. Look for the conference press release shortly, so please stay tuned and help us advertise the conference widely!

Lastly, I also encourage you to go ahead and renew your memberships and encourage others to join to our great organization. Our return to in-person meetings and in Bogotá, will be a great reason to attend and participate. I can’t wait to see you in person! Please also sign up for the committees you would like to be a part of. If you feel you are not yet ready to be chair of this or that (sub)committee, signing up is a great way to participate and contribute to our professions.  We are working on building the conference website, which will have the usual important information.

Abrazos, abraços, best,

DR. ANTONIO SOTOMAYOR, PH.D.

Associate Professor | University Library, History, and Spanish and Portuguese

Latin American and Caribbean Studies Librarian President, Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM)