Attending the SALALM conference at Princeton exposed me to current issues facing Latin American librarianship and connected me with a large network of professionals from around the globe. While there, I maintained a busy schedule beginning with the opening session where Lilia Moritz Schwarcz delivered her keynote address. During the rest of my time, I attended two receptions, the book exhibit, a town hall meeting, a rare book and manuscript demonstration at Firestone library, and various panels, which constituted the nuts and bolts of the conference.
The panels highlighted several issues, including digital resource access and collaboration, collection development trends, and new research. At one panel, presenters shared current programs aimed at the digitization of primary sources. The British Library, the Oliveira Lima Library, and Brown University all maximize their efforts by collaborating with national and international partners, and by using innovative techniques, like crowdsourcing to provide descriptive metadata. Debra McKern, from the Library of Congress, Rio de Janeiro Office, explicated their methods in acquiring ephemera from Brazil’s popular groups, such as recent World Cup protest flyers. In another panel, Peter Altekrüger explained how the Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut manages to maintain their duplicate exchange program with over 500 partners!
In a presentation featuring scholars’ perspectives, Stanley J. Stein recounted his first research trip to Brazil and his methodology as he worked with ex-slave informants in the coffee-growing region of Vassouras. At one of the final panels, Ricarda Musser detailed the wealth of information found in German immigration guides to Brazil, and how she is uncovering new research avenues for scholars, while Daniel Schoorl presented literature on Arab ethnicity in Brazil, highlighting key sources, such as early twentieth-century Arabic newspapers.
During my spare time, I connected with fellow attendees. I lunched with other library science students at Tico’s Juice Bar in downtown Princeton where we discussed our favorite panels and shared our professional endeavors. On another occasion, I savored a cool beverage at Small World Coffee alongside current SALALM librarians who traded stories about their job experiences, past and present. And as a first-time visitor, I enjoyed exploring or, rather, getting lost on Princeton’s beautiful campus. Princeton’s reception at the Prospect House, once home to President Woodrow Wilson, featured delicious food and beverage offerings. Along with a friend, I explored the house’s numerous rooms and countless portraits. The Libreros’ Reception the following evening took place in a grand hall where the music, dancing, and new friends made for a memorable experience.
I sincerely thank SALALM for the opportunity to attend this year’s conference. I would also like to send a special thank you to Paula Covington, who encouraged my scholarship application and who continues to serve as a dedicated mentor. A warm thank you also goes to Ruby Gutierrez and AJ Johnson, who imparted some great conference tips and advice! I look forward to continuing my pursuit of academic librarianship with a focus on Latin America, continuing my growth as a scholar of library studies, and taking part in future SALALM activities.
University of California, Los Angeles