This year I had the privilege of being one of three SALALM Conference Attendance Scholarship recipients to attend SALALM’s 60th conference at Princeton University. There I was exposed to a dynamic and energizing group of engaged professionals who are passionate about what they do. I can only describe this feeling as contagious. This year’s theme, Brazil in the World, the World in Brazil: Research Trends and Library Resources, was a treat for me as a Brazilianist, beginning with the keynote address by Brazilian scholar Lilia Moritz Schwarcz. Similarly, sessions that focused on Brazilian collections and librarianship in Brazil bridged my interests in Brazil as my area of research and my current work as an MLS student and future librarian.
The session “Legacy Collections of Brasiliana” was an opportunity to learn about collections in the US and in Brazil and the current challenges and future projects of two important Brasiliana collections, The Oliveira Lima Library at Catholic University and the Biblioteca Brasiliana Mindlin at the Universidade de São Paulo. The panel “Brazilian Culture and Society in North American Library Collections” focused, among other things, on the space that Brazilian collections have within the larger academic library setting. “Building Latin American Collections in the 21st Century: Emerging Trends and Challenges” provided practical approaches and theoretical reflections on the ways in which academic libraries acquire materials. Jennifer Osorio’s talk “Serials Acquisitions in the Digital ‘Future’”: If It’s All Online, What’s the Problem?” posed interesting questions on the publication trends in Latin America and how “lesser known” serials make it (or not) to larger academic libraries in the US.
The panels “Digital Curation of Archival and Ephemeral Collections: Enhancing Access and Discovery” and Debra McKern’s presentation “Brazil’s Popular Groups: Acquiring the Gray Literature Collection at the Library of Congress”, as well as the presentation by members of the Library of Congress’ Hispanic Division on web archiving and the digital access to the library’s collections was an excellent opportunity to learn about collections I was not familiar with and the different ways in which librarians collaborate with professionals in information technology to make these collections available to the public. I was particularly intrigued by the interest in ephemera and the way in which these materials are collected in Latin America.
Committee and business meetings were excellent opportunities to learn how an organization like SALALM works. I especially enjoyed the LAMP and LAARP meetings where different librarians presented new or ongoing projects related to preservation and open access.
Networking is probably the easiest part to do at SALALM and the “buddy system” was a good way to help students navigate their first conference. I am fortunate to count on several seasoned salalmistas as mentors and friends: Barbara Álvarez, Paloma Celis Carbajal and Adán Griego have been pivotal throughout my academic pursuits offering guidance and sound advice. I look forward to calling them and others my colegas as I join the ranks. On July 27th I will begin an appointment as Reference Librarian in the Hispanic Division at the Library of Congress where I hope I can contribute to vitality of our profession and to the future of SALALM.
University of Maryland, College Park