Berlin and SALALM

The trip here was long and frustrating but Berlin is really interesting. I am staying in a hostel called Pfefferbett, which I can recommend, and now I am using the free computers in the breakfast room aka bar to write this. The committee meetings yesterday were interesting and frank… I think everyone feels free to express themselves in this group. The hotel is about 4 km or more from here so I walked yesterday and got my exercise… maybe today I will figure out the subway. I promise to take some pictures today and post…
Yesterday I saw the Tiergarten, which was once a hunting preserve for the Kurfurst, some kind of prince, and gradually turned into something similar to Central Park, with statues of kings and queens. I saw a hippy mom, barefoot, with her little child, about one year old, and lots of other parents with kids on bikes. It is a good city for cycling, with lots of bike paths, and bicycle rickshaws. I even saw what looked like newlyweds on a two+person rickshaw, followed by a couple other rickshaws carrying the other members of the wedding party. The bride wore white and carried flowers and had a big smile on her face.
I alo tried to visit the Musical Instrument museum, but when we got there the man at the door told us that it was too close to closing time, and I will have to try again another day. It is close to the Maritim Hotel.
Dining possibilities are good here and food is better than I remember from my student days in (west) Germany back in the olden days… a large group of us went to a Croatian restaurant and had schaschlik (shishkabob) and schnitzel and the best beer… It.s true, the beers in Berlin are great.

Jean Dickson

Latin Lover

“Latin Lover” seemed to have been the drink of choice at the New Members and ENLACE Happy Hour

Book Burning, Berlin

This morning I started exploring Berlin, and one of the sites I wanted to make sure I visited was the memorial for the book burning event that took place on May 10, 1933, when students burned over 25,000 books considered “un-German”. It took me a while to find it, and it was only after I asked around that I figured out why I couln’t find it; a large tent for Berlin’s Fashion Week is sitting right over the memorial (yes, lovely contrast there). Still, I kept asking around and found out that the memorial is still open to the public, through a small side entrance.
Here are a couple of pictures I took there.
Esta mañana he comenzado a explorar Berlín, y uno de los sitios que quería asegurarse de visitar es el monumento a la quema de libros que tuvo lugar el 10 de mayo de 1933, cuando los estudiantes quemaron más de 25.000 libros considerados “anti-alemanes”. Me tomó un tiempo encontrarlo, y fue sólo después de preguntar que me di cuenta por que no lo veia, encima hay una tienda grandisima donde se esta organizando la Semana de la Moda de Berlín (sí, lindo el contraste). Igual segui preguntando y descubri que el lugar todavia sigue abierta al público, a través de una pequeña entrada lateral.

He aquí un par de fotos que tomé allí.

Willkommen in Berlin!

Greetings from Berlin! I arrived around midday Wednesday and am probably one of the first overseas attendees to arrive. I had a delayed but uneventful flight, direct from New York. At the baggage claim I discovered that Tina Gross was on my flight, but that was the only Salalmer@ I encountered today.
Here’s the entrance to our hotel, in the lovely Kulturforum district. The air is fragrant with some kind of blossom. I spent most of my day settling in and getting organized. I took a walk over to the nearby Potsdamer Platz. There are several shops and restaurants about 10 minutes walk from the hotel. I will be helping our colleagues at the IAI Library with conference preparations tomorrow (although they are so organized they probably do not need my help!). I hope to run into some arriving Salalm members on Thursday and Friday. It’s warm here right now, highs near 80 F but it will be a few degrees cooler after Sunday, according to the forecasts.
Hasta pronto, pamela

Beyond a Social Network: Using Facebook with an Advanced Spanish Class

I joined Facebook sometime in early 2008 and by July I had become more than just a novice user and saw its potential beyond “friending” those I already knew and accepting the “friendships” of those with whom I was having my first amicable meeting through their request to join their network of friends.
In experimenting with the site, I started by creating an open group (LASA Sexualities Section) for the Sexualities Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), a group for which I have been maintaining an online Bibliography for several years. The ability to upload images of book covers (and include reviews, interviews, etc) seemed a more visually appealing mode of sharing bibliographic information than the Yahoo list the group had created several years earlier to communicate with members. A brief note on this appeared in the February 2009 issue of the SALALM Newsletter.
In December of 2008 it was time to start planning for a class in the Spanish Department (Introduction to Literary and Scholarly Research) which had been redesigned and included a library component to expose students to “fuentes primarias” as part of their advanced research. This new incarnation had been taught once already during the Winter Quarter of 2007, a few months earlier. I proposed using Facebook as a way of integrating new technologies to introduce users to original/unique/special library resources.
After all, we already knew that approximately 80% of college students were avid participants in this popular social network. The materials to be consulted were non-circulating, thus having digital images of many of those resources would facilitate use of those items as they would reside in a site that would make them available 24×7, one of the expectations of the millennial library user. It seemed like a very logical way of exposing a new net generation to a range of….what word should we use? Older, Rare, Antiquarian….resources?
I immersed myself on maneuvering through the site and began to create Events for each of the sessions for which the class was to visit the Library to consult materials in our Special Collections Reading Room. The items to be used ranged from facsimile editions of Medieval texts and Pre-columbian codices to literary correspondence in its original as well alternative publications like theCartonera and Leñateros hand-made books or the controversial Memin Pinguin comics.
The process of mounting images for each class event appeared to be effortless. Simply “googleing” a topic/name like Sor Juana, and SAVE IMAGE AS via the right click of the mouse and the imaged was saved to my desktop. But it turned out to be a more complex task as the images did not load in chronological order but rather as last in/first out. REMEMBER THIS! After that “small” glitch was caught, I entertained myself during a 2 week vacation (mostly rainy days) reloading the images to fit the desired chronology and through the Edit this Photo Facebook function, I was able to add/modify text (Copy & Paste is wonderful, right?) to accompany each image of the materials to be shown in class.
On the first day of class, I went to the meeting room, held outside the library, to provide a brief overview of the library component of the course: a basic demonstration of how to search the online catalog to find items housed in Special Collections. What I hoped would be a simple “repaso” of basic OPAC searching proved to be a novelty for the students. There was something else other than Google to find library resources!
The first task was to have the students join the closed group that had been created within Facebook for their class: Span Lit 120 (see images below). They had the option of searching for the group and ask for permission to join, the group’s administrator(s) can be the gatekeeper(s). I discovered that if had their email addresses and they were not part of my network of friends, I could not invite them to join, or at least that appeared to be one of the initial logistical “pegas.” A simple step became a bit cumbersome as sometimes students had to “friend” me so that I could give them access. Not all of them followed these steps right after class, some waited until a week later, the day of the next meeting! Net user comportment does not seem to deviate much from that of those of us born before 1980, the so called “Digital Immigrants.”
How did students navigate through the site?
It became clear that for them Facebook was a social network to keep track of the whereabouts of their friends through fragmented status updates: “research paper…done” all in a brevity that would make a Twitter posting resemble an unending Joycean sentence.
One of the students was already on Facebook but assumed another “identity” just for the class, reiterating what others have noted: they use it only for social networking and connect with those with similar interests. This may change as others start to explore how to integrate Facebook as teaching tool in the college classroom.
Indeed, of the 15 registered students, few realized the extent to which the site contained multiple images (of some texts that were shown in Special Collections) with notes supplementing my class presentation. Others did not realize that the “invitation” to attend an event (a class visit to the Library) meant there was further need to consult the site for materials related to the class visit.
The “Wall” was used to communicate with the group either to give exact bibliographic citations of the materials shown in class, to suggest further reading or alert some one of an article/book/site of interest related to their final class project or simple to clarify one of those questions I had not answerer…but I had promised to check and report back. For lengthier postings the Discussion Board was more appropriate given the “Wall’s” limit of 1000 characters.
What could have been done differently?
The class will be taught again during the Fall Quarter (2009)and one of the basic changes would be to have it be less unidirectional (I mount the images and text) and be more user-centered (students coud be asked to comment on the images of the materials shown in class).
To ensure that students are conversant in searching the online catalog to retrieve non-circulating materials housed in Special Collections, having them do the actual paging of items would become a more engaging experience. Sometimes this process can be done online and at others a form needs to be completed in writing, that old fashioned modus operandi, so 20th century.
The class will have the added advantage of meeting twice of week. This should provide a more cohesive manner of presenting materials and not having to wait 7 days to meet in person. The online activities (students posting comments on the materials examined in class) can also provide more continuity that was lacking in the previous class settings.
Readings of Interest
Facebook and Academic Performance: Reconciling a Media Sensation with Data (2009)

A Response to Reconciling a Media Sensation with Data (2009)

Opening Facebook: How to Use Facebook in the College Classroom (2009)

Use of Facebook in Academic Health Sciences Libraries (2009)
Reaching Students with Facebook: Data and Best Practices (2007)

TechMatters: Going Where the College Students Are: Facebook and the Library (2007)




Greetings to the blog reading SALALMeros out there.
The final program for SALALM 54 is now available on the conference website. It’s hard to believe the rough notes and lists I sketched out with Peter and Ricarda over cold lemonade in New Orleans has turned into this 32 page document. Now I need to clone myself so I can sit in on all the panels.
Hope to see some of you soon; others can look forward to our ongoing posts and eventual conference reports.

e-SALALM — Your input needed

Hi all,
This is my first entry into the salalm blogosphere– and how appropriate that I am writing about SALALM’s digital future! I have posted a note to LALA-L describing my idea to form an ad hoc group within SALALM to explore ways to make our organization more electronic. Hopefully saving us some work and time and paper. I am pasting in the proposal below.
I invite you to send your feedback, either directly to my Columbia email ( OR you can use the comments feature of this blog to share your thoughts. We will dedicate some time to this issue in the Town Hall meeting at the end of the SALALM conference, on the afternoon of July 8th. If you post or send a comment, I can bring that to the discussion, if you wish. I’ll look forward to receiving your thoughts, in person or in bytes. Thanks! Pamela
Proposal and Charge for the e-SALALM Ad hoc Committee
July 2009
Submitted by Pamela Graham, SALALM President 2008-09
This proposal seeks to set up an Ad hoc committee (to be called the e-SALALM Group) to investigate, research, and recommend measures that could be taken to improve and increase efficiency in several SALALM functions via the use of technology. Over the course of the last few years, the membership and SALALM officers have expressed an interest in moving several key functions online and this theme surfaced in the 2007 PRI Survey. Shifting some of SALALM’s functions online will involve initial and ongoing costs, and will require an examination of available software and tools, and a consideration of several non-technological issues. I propose setting up a working group that can survey and review such options and issues with the goal of providing the Executive Board, the Finance Committee, and other relevant Committees with specific recommendations for pursuing any appropriate changes.
Possible categories of functions and activities to be reviewed: 

  • Routine SALALM functions: Initial memberships and membership renewals, Conference Registration, SALALM election balloting 
  • Publications: Newsletter, Membership Directory, Proceedings and other publications
  • Publicity and Outreach: use of blogs, Facebook, podcasts, and other social networking tools to disseminate information and engage existing and potential members 
  • Intra-SALALM communication: Group workspaces for committees/subcommittees; tools for sharing documents, minutes, and any project documentation etc.

Possible tasks for the e-SALALM can include the following: 

  • Consult with relevant SALALM committees and with the membership as needed to gather information about priorities, questions, and concerns; determine whether some functions are already carried out online and recommend any needed practices or guidelines 
  • Review other similar professional organizations’ websites; consult with colleagues to obtain advice and suggestions on software and appropriate technologies 
  • Review possible tools and software; obtain information about technological requirements and costs 
  • Consider non-technological issues including access, privacy, and the possible need for any changes in SALALM’s Basic Documents 
  • Consider needs for any new institutional support, financial and human, to enact and sustain possible changes

Membership: The group will consist of a Chair and approximately 5 members. The group should include a mixture of persons with technological skills and experience, and those with strong familiarity with SALALM’s committees and functions. The committee will be populated by a combination of appointments and an open call for volunteers from the membership to serve.
Timeline for work: The group will carry out most of its work during the 2009-10 academic year. A brief status report should be sent to the Executive Board in January 2010. The group will deliver a report and recommendations to the Executive Board and Finance Committee two weeks before the SALALM LV conference so that these recommendations can be considered at the annual Executive Board and Finance Committee meetings. More complicated issues may require additional time for research and investigation so some of the e-SALALM group may carry over into the following year.

SALALM Members at the 2009 Buenos Aires Book Fair (April 20-May 11, 2009)

This year saw a small but active group of SALALMistas at the 35th International Buenos Aires Book Fair. Teresa Chapa (University of North Carolina) and Adan Griego (Stanford) retraced their adventure to Libreria Asunto Impreso. Unlike last year, Adan was not climbing up ladders or fighting with fellow SALALMistas for copies of books, as was the case at the Belleza y Felicidad Gallery a few years ago during a visit to the Eloisa Cartonera book project. He did ask to un-wrap a few art books he bought for his own collection at home. Not sure why ALL the books were wrapped.
After some “comida casera” in the neighborhood, the adventurous librarians headed to Papelera Palermo in search of some artist books, but the fine arts press side of the bookstore is no longer in operation. So a visit to La Boutique del Libro bookshop was a welcome stop to end the afternoon. The bookstore’s founder had just been honored the night before as the “librero del año” by Book Fair organizers.
Angela Carreño (New York University) visited the collective stand of academic presses and probably by the time she got to the combined stand for cultural journals there were some gaps since Teresa Chapa had already acquired complete sets of several titles. Gata FloraNomadaOtra ParteOjos CruelesTodo es HistoriaLas Ranas,
TDI: Teatro Diseño Inovación, and Planeta Urbano stood out among those on display.
Not all were book adventures, some were almost out of a Larra text: Phill Macleod (Emory) experienced a “vuelva usted mañana” moment at the American Express office in his attempt to secure funds and be able to purchase materials at the Fair. But the next day he was eagerly acquiring books for his library….after he spoke to the manager, perhaps?
SALALM vendors were present as well. Alfonso Vijil was seen hauling a large suitcase full of books.Luis Retta and Marcelo Garcia Cambeiro were spotted having a coffee…perhaps discussing upcoming budget cuts from their US customers while Alvaro Risso stood guard at the Camara del Libro de Uruguay stand. Nicolas and Anna RossiDanilo AlveroLinda Russo and Carlos Castellanosexplored the many stands to catch any “novedades” being launched at the Fair this year.
Also in attendance were several Reforma colleagues from public libraries in San Antonio, San Francisco, Oakland, District of Columbia, Redwood City (CA), Chicago, Los Angeles and Brooklyn. The visits were made possible with support from the Fundación el Libro, and the Fundación Exportar.
There were many other panels scheduled to coincide with the Fair. By accident I walked into a “mesa redonda” on the Google Book Search Project, a similar discussion the previous year had a SRO audience but this time it was less than ½ full. Perhaps some of the same points had already been addressed in the past few days at 3rd Meeting of Latin American Book Dealers. Nonetheless, it proved to be quite a lively discussion. One of the speakers (from a regional academic press) had given all its content to Google with no consultation from the authors. A legal scholar from the University of Buenos Aires in the audience argued that such action was a clear violation of intellectual property laws. Meanwhile, the panelist from Google re-iterated (more than once) that the content resided in a very secure Google server not on the Web for all the see/read/download.
The previous day this same room had experienced an overflow crowd that would have violated many a building fire code as eager attendees to Argentina’s Library Association Conference (ABGRA) had come to listen to presentations entitled: Servicios,Tecnología y Acceso a la Información . The topics covered locally developed innovative ways of providing services (book renewals via a cell phone) and one on Information Architecture by a young and dynamic presenter sponsored by the US Embassy in Argentina, the type of cultural diplomacy our country needs to continue supporting.
As in previous years, librarians from the United States participated in the ABGRA Conference. Fellow Reformista Alvaro Sanabria (San Francisco Public Library) talked about how the SFPL system has developed its Spanish library collections and the multiple services it provides to users.
This time I presented to a group of school librarians: “El usuario que viene: un acercamiento a ésta nueva generación digital.” The talk was well received and I am sure other talented SALAMISTAS can contribute presentations to future ABGRA meetings as Paloma Celis Carbajal (University of Wisconsin), Anne Barnhart (UC Santa Barbara), and Patricia Figueroa (Brown) did last year or as Carlos Delgado (UC Berkeley) did for several years. ¡ANIMENSE!, el mundo es ancho, y no tan ajeno!`