I’m writing in the last weeks of what feels like the longest year in memory. These past months have been an exercise in imaging three or four tenuous paths for the near future while managing only to put one foot in front of the other. One day soon we’ll be able to sit in fellowship and share stories of this challenging time, to honor SALALM members taken by the pandemic, and to untangle its consequences on our work. We’ll also be able to celebrate the resiliency, flexibility and creativity with which our organization has faced this year and that we were able to make leaps and bounds, that we were able to dance in a year of twilight.
Our recent initiative, SALALM Resolution: Collection Development in the Time of Covid-19 has been a generative roadmap because it reaffirmed our long-standing commitment to collaboration with our vendors, with our national and international colleagues, and with our library users. The resolution bore conversations with organizations working with international collections, library administrators and leaders and with scholars in our field that highlighted SALALM’s historical commitment to collection development. The statement encompassed local, networked and open access collection strategies, a triaged approach that we have been working on for decades to buttress our libraries and user needs in the face of long-standing challenges. In the fog of the pandemic we have our colleagues on the Collection Development and Equity in the Time of Covid-19 Task Force to thank for guiding us through the iterative organizational conversations that led us back to ourselves and our values.
These values have been lived through projects like LACLI, a collective effort to create a warehouse of online free e-resources with Latin American, Caribbean, U.S. Latinx, and Iberian full content; member participation and leadership in the Collections Forum-Coalition of Librarians for Equity and Access; the At Home in the World webinar series; the SALALM Statement on Systemic Racism and Violence; and the continued conversations and efforts around Change the Subject. All of this and the additional work of reimagining services for our users, working with our librero colleagues despite disrupted supply chains, partnering with our local colleagues to keep our libraries going with diminished resources and hopefully finding adequate time to take care of ourselves and our loved ones.
I can’t think of a better group of people to work with on the issues I’ve been thinking about for our 2021 conference. We’ll be putting out the conference press release in early January. In the meantime, I hope you get a much-deserved break. I wish you and your loved ones happy holidays and a brighter new year.
SALALM President (2020-2021)
2CUL Latin American & Iberian Studies Librarian
(Columbia / Cornell)