"LIBER 2007"

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Photo/Claude Potts, UC Berkeley

Liber 2007 pictures - additional photos of assembled librarians for your delectation
-Sarah G. Wenzel, University of Chicago

LIBER is the annual Spanish book fair, usually alternating between Barcelona and Madrid. It is both national and international: national in the sense that it is supported by relevant ministries and bureaus of the national government (as well as by regional and municipal governments); and international in the sense that it attracts stands from international parties, usually from Latin America. The country honored this year was Perú. LIBER is not as large as other national/international book fairs, with 700 publishers from 17 countries present on the floor (many stands combine publishers from the same region), so it is possible to canvas all their stands and carry away interesting catalogs. From the US, 9 academic librarians and 36 from public libraries were invited by the Spanish Trade Commission (Miami) to attend LIBER in Barcelona; from the UK, 4 academic and 1 public librarians were also invited. We were housed in a good hotel less than two blocks from Plaça Catalunya (the heart of the tourist center) and only four metro stops from the convention center where the fair took place (simultaneously with other trade fairs on caravaning and multimedia technology). The Trade Commission set up appointments for us with publishers on the floor of the fair. We had ample opportunity to meet many other publishers at their stands or in the business center on the convention floor.
-Jeffry Larson, Yale University

From a forthcoming issue of the SALALM newsletter:
"[SALALMistas]--[& WESSies, JKL]--had the opportunity to visit the Biblioteca de Catalunya (BC), the national library of Catalonia. The BC was founded in 1907 as the library of the Institut d'Estudis Catalans. In 1929, when the Library was acquired by the city government of Barcelona, it was moved to the 15th century buildings of the old Hospital de la Santa Creu de Barcelona. Within the cloister of the hospital, visitors may find the 17th-century Casa de Convalecencia (Convalescence Home) and the 18th-century Academia de Cirugia (Academy of Surgery). Nowadays the building houses the Catalan Women's Institute, the Institute of Catalan Studies, Sant Pau City Library, the Library of Catalunya and the Massana Art School. The BC was made the national library of Catalonia by the Llei de biblioteques of 1981, which was approved by the Parliament of Catalonia. Recently, Google and five Catalan libraries, including the BC, have begun digitizing their bibliographic holdings in the public domain, making them available on the Internet."
-Patricia Figueroa, Brown University
See photos of our visit. Our group also toured the neighboring public library, Biblioteca Sant Pau - Santa Creu. We were impressed by how busy and active the library was, clearly providing a valuable service to the multi-cultural community in this section of the city.
-Pamela Graham, Columbia University

Publishers notes:
The Asociación de Revistas Culturales de España (ARCE; see http://www.revistasculturales.com/), has a new catalog which I picked up & selectively checked upon my return; it contains several new reviews that are not to be found in WorldCat.
The Unión de Editoriales Universitarias Españolas (UNE) awarded several prizes for titles in different categories; some of them are not in WorldCat. For details, see http://elblogdeloslibrosuniversitarios.une.es/Detail.aspx?id=292.
-Jeffry Larson, Yale University

Barcelona-based publishing/distribution group Grup 62 met with several librarians to discuss new titles and ongoing publishing endeavors in both Catalan and Castellano. See: http://www.edicions62.com/.
-Claude Potts, UC Berkeley

We were hosted in part thanks to the efforts of groups that put together the America Reads Spanish site & publication. On 19 October, the newsletter included two press releases related to the fair: "LIBER 2007 a resounding success" & "ARS enjoys successful appearance at LIBER".
Another site with an enewsletter of new reviews is the ICEX New Spanish Books
-Sarah G. Wenzel, University of Chicago

My LIBER Thoughts (Adan Griego, Stanford University Libraries)
“Passion for Book” was the theme of LIBER’s 25th annual meeting which this year hosted Peru as featured country. And passion was certainly in the air long before the Fair opened its doors in Barcelona. A few days earlier, a small group of ultranationalists in Catalonia had staged a public burning of royal family photos, an action condemned by the conservative opposition as well as the governing Socialists in Madrid.
Linguistics politics had passion on its side as well, starting with the polemic earlier in the year when the delegation of Catalan writers attending the 2007 Frankfurt Book Fair (where Catalonia was to be guest of honor) excluded those not writing in Catalan. Unrelated though it was, the firing of Uruguayan-born author Cristina Peri Rossi (a 30 year resident of Barcelona) from a radio talk show because she did not speak Catalan, only added fuel to the fire, prompting El Mundo headlines of “persecusión lingüística” and “nacionalismo excluyente.” Peri Rossi herself added that if she had to be the “chivo expiatorio, lo asumo.”
It was certainly no surprise that Prince Felipe, heir to the Spanish throne, and also Prince of Girona (among his many titles) was present at the opening ceremonies, where he was welcomed by the president of the Spanish Publishers Association with these words: “donde se le quiere y se le respeta.” The royal heir spoke in Spanish and Catalan and by the warm applause he seemed to have found a friendly audience.
Politics aside, passion for the book was also shared by the SALALM and WESS members attending the book fair, which this time was a day shorter than in previous years. According to El Pais, there were 12,000 visitors. Unlike similar events in Buenos Aires (3 weeks and more than one million visitors or Guadalajara’s 10 days and almost 500,000 visitors), LIBER is only open to “profesionales del libro,” the last (4th) day used to be reserved for the general public, and like Frankfurt and Book Expo America, books are not available for purchase.
These eager booklovers were not deterred by the high value of the euro and explored not only LIBER’s exhibit halls but also the open air antiquarian book fair being held a block away from our hotel. I have been to a similar event held every Fall in Madrid’s Paseo del Prado and was surprised at how amiable book dealers appeared to be. Barcelona bookstores hosted LIBER attendees as well: “Lyn Shirey was here today,” said the owners of Passim (http://www.llibreria-passim.com/eng/index.php) when I made a last minute stop and they kept the store open for an extra 30 minutes on a Friday evening so that I could jot down a few more titles.
If battling a heavy downpour to/from a library tour is not passion, then what is? Brave and committed WESSIEs and SALALMistas were hosted by staff at the National Library of Catalunya (as noted above). Our deepest “agradecimiento” to Lluis Agusti (formerly of New York’s Cervantes Institute Library) for arranging the tour!

No less passionate I collect newspapers during my visits abroad, always looking for items of interest. Here are some examples:
  • On September 26th a new daily hit the newsstands (Publico http://www.publico.es/ ) at ½ the price of the competing newspapers, offering DVDs and music CDs. That same day, El Pais noted that it had increased circulation by 5% and 7% during the (slow) months of July and August respectively (beating its closest competitor by more than 110,000 copies). The previous page noted that “un nuevo periódico…un diario nacional de 64 páginas en color…” was now available.
  • Perhaps indicative of the potential power of immigrants (ever so present in the news), a cable channel had just added Rumanian sports programs appealing to the more than 500,000 new Eastern European immigrants. Earlier in the year, noted El Pais, the same cable outlet had added South American coverage to attract the more than 2 million immigrants from the “other side of the Atlantic.” Collectively, both groups account for more than “15% of the new cable subscribers.”
  • On the 30th anniversary of Vicente Aleixandre’s winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, El Mundo carried the good news of the poet’s literary archive having found a home thanks to a 5 million euro joint acquisition by the Junta de Andalucia and Diputacion de Malaga. The more than 5,000 documents and over 3,000 books will be housed at the Centro Cultural Generacion 27 in Malaga.
  • Already at the Barajas airport on the long way to California, I caught a brief note about the ARCE presentation I had attended briefly the previous morning: Perfil sociodemográfico, hábitos de lectura y estilos de vida (http://www.revistasculturales.com/loslectores/). The typical ARCE reader is a male over 45, college educated and head of household. It would be interested to see if ARCE tries to expand its audience.

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