By Collection Development and Equity in the Time of Covid-19 Task Force. June 10, 2020

In light of the COVID-19 situation and budgetary reductions, libraries are implementing policies focusing primarily on digital formats, SALALM expresses the following concerns regarding challenges in the collection development eco-system for Latin American and Caribbean Studies:

  1. Whereas, the majority of publications from Latin America and the Caribbean are print-only, and are not available in electronic formats, as UNESCO’s CERLALC reports in El espacio iberoamericano del libro;
  2. Whereas, e-preferred collection development policies will exclude non-English language materials and Latin America and Caribbean cultural and scholarly production, including the voices of Black, indigenous, LGBTQ, and transnational authors, which are so critical to advancing the research and learning of the region and their diasporas in the United States; 
  3. Whereas, a sudden shift away from research materials only available in print not only threatens the integrity of diverse library collections, but also places a dedicated network of local vendors of scholarly and ephemeral research materials at risk of closure; 
  4. Whereas, these regional vendors are important because of their expertise in specific regions and they provide access to necessary and unique materials for learning, teaching and research needs of library users that would be overlooked by larger vendors based outside of the region; 
  5. Whereas, pioneering cooperative Open Access models such as SciELO and RedALyC have made scholarly journals from the region widely available for over two decades, yet a gap for monographs still exists; 

Be it resolved, that Seminar for the Acquisition for Latin American Library Materials (SALALM), on behalf of its members:

  1. Urges libraries to continue acquiring print material through a network of regional vendors, often the only available sources, and thereby not limit diversity in scholarly collections.
  2. Encourages collaboration and further discussion with other organizations working with international collections at a national and international level, such as the Africana Librarians Council, Council on East Asian Libraries or the Middle East Librarians Association, among others.
  3. Advocates for continued and increased support for Open Access initiatives in Latin American and Caribbean countries through the Latin American Materials Project (LAMP), Latin Americanist Research Resources Project (LARRP), SALALM’s Award for Institutional Collaborative Initiatives, and other existing collaborative Open Access projects.

Photo credit: AldoRafa/Needpix.com