Monday, May 3, 2010

1st day of conference

¡Clásico! A meeting of Mexican librarians and chaos at the registration table. The one thing that should flow, uf... Well, got registered and my blue wrist band, qué tal? We have to wear this the whole time; le comenté - así puedo tomar bebidas alcohólicas también, verdad?

The opening session was typical, thank everybody and their mamá; asking for donations to remodel their office. For 2,000 pesos, you get a faux brick with your name on it displayed for at least 10 years. Muy formal, awful sound system, not enough room between the rows, qué fijada!

The Palacio de convenciones is way out on the edge of town. Had to take a long walk and then a short bus ride and another long walk but found it sin problemas. Buen ejercicio que tanta falta me hace.

Have met some interesting people already, most here work at academic libraries or are students. They are exhibits, too. I was chatting with a woman who is pushing some scientific database. Turns out she's from New York; we figured out we both speak English, ha! She had a Portuguese accent, so ahí la confusión mía. Oh! A nice contact, the librarian from Cancún's Universidad Caribe, qué invite... digo...

The first panel I attended had some very interesting presentations. Here are the datos - Mexican libraries after the revolution were modelled on U.S. libraries since many of the revolutionary leaders were norteños - Alvaro Obregón, etc. "fundar una biblioteca en un pueblo tiene tanta significación como levantar una iglesia... un lugar para descansar y recogerse" My feelings on hearing/reading this - ¿y ahora? Public libraries in Mexico are in a sad state.

The next presenter has done research on Zacatecan migrants and information services. She has put together a web page that looks really good and helpful. I wasn't very convinced about the representative sample she used - 70% legal... ok... all with some education, etc. I met her and told her that I'm on the other end and would love to link to her site. It's not live yet, but will keep in touch.

Finally, a talk about measuring success in libraries. This seemed to provoke a lot of questions. Again, mainly talking about academic libraries. My feeling - hello! You have to constantly measure your relevance to your target population. Anygüey, as Chávez-Silverman says... The guy quoted Marx - el problema es el método - and Ranganathan - las bibliotecas son para usarse - so he's got to be ok.

Also, what god-awful Powerpoints!!! I know how to read, people!! But, bought a T-shirt from cuerito de la UNAM...

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