Discovering General Álvaro Obregón in the Main Stacks of Doe Library!

Today, was one of the most exciting days of my librarian life. In my life, As a naturalized American, I had never thought that I will one day, indirectly meet General Álvaro Obregón Salido in the Main Library’s stack through his own handwriting. As a librarian who is responsible for multiple areas, I sometimes spend time looking through our collections of Latin American and East European Studies. Today, was one such day, as I was browsing and reacquainting myself with the heroes of Mexican Republic through their writings, I came across an already digitized by HathiTrust item: Ocho mil kilómetros en campaña ; relación de las acciones de armas, efectuadas en más de veinte estados de la República durante un período de cuatros años, por el e. general Álvaro Obregón, y descritas por él mismo.

The image below is from Harris & Ewing – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID hec.18978. This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons: Licensing for more information.

The book that we have in main stacks is a 1917 copy of the same title but with a little difference. The copy that has been sitting in our stacks since 1917 has been inscribed by General Álvaro Obregón as a gift to the University of California. Please see the photos below. I was afraid that it might be an inaccurate observation from my part so I searched for the image of his signature and came to the conclusion that it might be really signed by the General. The heroes of the Mexican Republic often remind me of my childhood heroes of India and other developing world countries. What an honor it was to meet the General through his handwriting!  The book will be offered to Bancroft Library for safekeeping for the next generations of American students and scholars who will I am sure wonder about the librarians who were not only collecting in the epoch of new normal in public education but also safeguarding it for the posterity. It does not matter where you from, it matters how responsible are you when it comes to curating your own collections for you are the temporary holder of the post. These objects of cultural significance will outlast us!

I do not consider myself either the specialist on the inks or signatures. I checked the signature on our book against the one here.

One can see the photos that I took today here.

Sites/Cites, Texts, and Voices in Critical Librarianship: Decolonizing Libraries and Archives: SALALM 2018

This was my first time attending the annual meeting of the  Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM) that took place in Mexico City, Mexico from July 1st through July 4th. The meeting was a huge, tremendous learning opportunity for a newly appointed Latin American Studies librarian like me. Some of the questions that the panels examined were as follows: How do our descriptions of resources reinforce or challenge meanings? What roles do standardized professional benchmarks play in collection building, cataloging, and curricular development? How does our work promote or hinder information empowerment and global information equality? How might alternative library and archival practices or tools foster equitable access? How do current funding structures affect our successes and failures? How can we foster critical reflection in our profession? How might we address the inequalities of access to electronic platforms and misperceptions about their provision of global resources?

It was the only chance for me to meet with my new colleagues as well as the vendors that supply books from all over the Caribbean and Latin America for the Main collections at UC Berkeley. Here are some of the photos from that meeting. Please click on the image below to access the album. All of the photos in this album were taken by me during the actual meetings and events.

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Online Access to Brazilian and Panamanian records of the US Department of State now available!

The Library has recently acquired online access to these government documents:

Panama: Records of the U.S. Department of State, 1950-1963
Documents in this collection trace U.S.-Panamanian relations during the Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy administrations. Issues relating to shipping and the significance of the Panama Canal during the Cold War include: “Panama Stymies Use of Her Flag in Vietminh Trade … A parallel situation exists in the trade with Red China” (September 1955); and “Ships Enroute to U.S. from Soviet or Satellite Ports” (October 1957). A letter to U.S. Ambassador Julian F. Harrington details “the possibility that the Conference on the Law of the Sea in 1960 would result in a general acceptance by the United States of a six-mile breadth of territorial sea” (April 1960). Other documents chart day-to-day aspects of the economy: a report on sugar production with tables on sugar production and consumption (June 1950); and an announcement by the Panamá Canal Company of a contract award for native lumber (August 1952).

Brazil: Records of the U.S. Department of State, 1960-1963
This archive focuses on Brazil in the early 1960s. Sample documents include a report from Recife on the cultivation and export of pineapples, “especially in the states of Pernambuco and Paraíba,” as “an increasing source of foreign exchange for the Northeast.” A November 1962 memorandum details the issuance of 40 billion cruzeiros in new currency “to meet runs on commercial banks during the political crisis, gradually flowing back to the Bank of Brazil following the return of normal conditions.” The collection covers the period following the resignation from the presidency of Janio Quadros in 1961 and the succession of Vice President Joao Goulart, whose years in office were marked by high inflation, economic stagnation, and the increasing influence of radical political elements. The armed forces, alarmed by these developments, staged a coup on March 31, 1964, during the administration of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Source: Jennifer Dorner

New cartonera books from Brazil (O COLETIVO DULCINÉIA CATADORA)

We recently received an interesting batch of Cartonera books that were published and made in Brazil. These came from a publisher called “O coletivo Dulcinéia Catadora”. Its self-description is as follows, “The collective Dulcinéia Catadora was started in 2007 after two months of collaborative work by Lúcia Rosa and Peterson Emboava with members of Eloísa Cartonera during the 27th São Paulo Biennial. Currently, it operates within a cooperative of recyclable materials in São Paulo, Brazil and counts on the active participation of Andreia Emboava, Maria Dias da Costa, Eminéia dos Santos and Agata Emboava who work daily in recycling. Lúcia Rosa edits books of poetry, prose, as well as works by contemporary Brazilian artists. The books are made by cardboard collectors and other professionals who participate in the collective. Dulcinea’s fundamental point is sustainability, based on a strategy of income generation that consists in selling the books and passing it on to the collectors who made them the value of the sale, discounting the production costs”. There are several interesting books that came on this shipment. Please click on the icon below to gain access to the images of these books.

One can also find the information on how these books are created from the carton and other recyclables below.

John Oliver Simon’s Book Collection donated to Doe Library’s Latin Americana collections.

I am really honored to accept as a gift of a large collection of several hundred books that belonged once to a well-known Berkeley poet- John Oliver Simon. John Oliver Simon- a legendary poet of Berkeley Sixties passed away in early 2018. He was UC Berkeley alumnus and his personal collection of poetry and prose books from all parts of Latin America is a treasure trove that his family decided to donate to us. Since then, I have been going through the boxes of his books and finding one hidden gem after other that are not in our collections. Someone has argued albeit rightfully that the libraries are not museums, however, there are always exceptions to any argument. Museums are not libraries and we as the guardians of the cultural artifacts including the books must collect, preserve and pass on these gems to the future generation. The nuanced relationship of our country with her Latin American neighbors can be seen through some of the books that I will present below in an album. This is one of my first posts about the collection that we received as a gift from Kia Simon is one of the most important additions to our Doe collections of Latin Americana. Some of these books that fall within the collecting scope of Bancroft Library will be offered to their respective curatorial staff. Please click on the icon below to gain access to the wonderful artistry of printmaking in Latin America. This album includes books signed and dedicated to John Oliver Simon by his literary friends.



Select new books from Colombia at Doe Library!

In times of budgetary new normals and collaborations, collecting materials from Colombia presents itself as a challenge to many Latin American Studies librarians due to the sheer number of publications that Colombia generates. Colombian cultural powerhouse is represented by a variety of academic institutions and publishers. This, in turn, presents a challenge on what, how much and to what extent a single university library can collect? The focus at our institution has been to build a sustainable collection of Colombian materials that will be used to support research and teaching on the campus. To this end, I present you with our recent acquisitions of Colombian books.

Select new books from Bolivia at Doe Library!

Recently, we received a new batch of Bolivian books and these are a welcome mix of both the Humanities and Social Sciences related materials. Among these books, there are several that merit our attention. The first is a four-volume set of Blanca Wiethüchter‘s complete works. There are several works related to the Andean and Bolivian history. There are notable works of fiction including Carlos Valverde‘s “Santa Zapata”. Also, we have a book by a Bolivian-Mexican film-maker Juan Carlos Valdivia that is entitled, “Parada obligatoria“.

Below is the album of some of the photos of the recent new books from Bolivia. Please click on the image itself to get access to the images of different book-covers. Happy Reading!

Argentine Editorial Houses

Buenos Aires houses many of the very diverse editorial houses and publishers. There are several such publishers that are perhaps overlooked during the mainstream collection development of Latin American Studies. These houses stretch and challenge many of the societal norms by publishing the works of authors who in turn are trying to break the barriers to their expressions. Such barriers can be cultural-historical, political, social, ideological or even based on the economic realities of the time. Today, I write about the two of such publishing houses. The first is Santos Locos.

The self-description of this editorial house as follows, “Santos Locos no es la primera editorial y en rigor de verdad no será la última. Santos Locos surge con la idea de dejar atrás las ediciones de autor, la peregrinación de editorial en editorial y así volver a pensar en poesía como quien no puede dejar de leerla y más importante aún como quien no puede dejar de escribirla.” As a librarian without any ideological inclinations on what to buy, I did decide to purchase most of their recent publications. One of the first books that I began to read was by a Venezuelan poet-María Ruiz. The title of the her poetry book is Putas metamórficas. I purchased the new Argentine edition by Santos Locos.  I did not have access to the 2012 Caracas edition. For this anthology, the poetess won an award at the XVIII Bienal José Antonio Ramos Sucre, in Mención Poesía, category.

The second publishing house that comes to my mind is Nulú Bonsai Editora of Buenos Aires, and its new  3rd edition of Ioshua’s work-Todas las obras acabadas de Ioshua that was just released in March of 2018.  I hope that some of the purchases that I have made will add to our already strong LGBT collections. 

Artecubano : revista de artes visuales.

As the librarian for Latin American and the Caribbean collections, I find it important to also carry out some sort of retrospective collection development and contribute to the creation of a holistic collection of journals of importance from the region. One such journal is  Artecubano. We have several issues of this title, but we do not have a complete run. I am glad to announce that through my contacts in Cuba, I was able to get all of the issues through 2015.  I will be able post the pictures of these issues once they get here. I am so excited for having such a rewarding vocation!