Category Archives: Latin America

Library Services in Latin America – New Book!

Sharing good news, below. The book was born from a joint REFORMA and IFLA\ Latin America & Caribbean Section program titled “Successful Stories: Library Services in Latin America,” presented at the American Library Association 2010 Annual Conference. It is available in print and as an e-book.  I am very proud to have worked on this publication with my colleague Filiberto Felipe Martinez Arellano.

Library Services in Latin America

REFORMA and UNAM’s Collaboration Results in the Publication of an E-Book titled
Library Services in Latin America

Los Angeles—U.N.A.M. (National Autonomous University of Mexico), and REFORMA have collaborated on a new book regarding library services in Latin America. The e-book, Servicios Bibliotecarios en América Latina: tres casos prominentes / Library Services in Latin America: three outstanding cases, was published by the U.N.A.M.’s Center for Bibliographic Research in December 2011.

This collaboration between two energetic institutions resulted from the efforts of two innovative librarians, Loida Garcia-Febo, (REFORMA President 2009-2010 and Coordinator of the New Americans Program at Queens Library), and Dr. Filiberto Felipe Martinez Arellano (U.N.A.M.’s L.I.S. Research Center researcher, and 2008-2011 Section Chair of the International Federation of Library Associations /Latin American & the Caribbean section).

The e-book was born from a joint REFORMA and IFLA Latin America and Caribbean Section program titled “Successful Stories: Library Services in Latin America”, presented at the A.L.A. 2010 Annual Conference. Panelists and presentations were:

• Ana Lupe Cristán, Library of Congress, U.S.A.: Library of Congress reaches out to the Latin America library community/ alliance de los programas de cooperación de la Biblioteca del Congreso en América Latina;

• Marcia Rosetto, Universidad de São Paulo, Brasil, and Aparecida Da Graça Guimarães: Fundaçao Memorial da America Latina, Brasil: Virtual Library of Latin America, BV@L / Biblioteca Virtual deAmérica Latina, BV@L.

• Nítida Carranza, Universidad Pedagógica Nacional, Honduras, and Denice Adkins, University of Missouri, U.S.A.: Promoting Reading in Tegucigalpa Public Schools with Bookmobiles/ Fomentando la lectura en las escuelas públicas de Tegucigalpa a través de la Biblioteca Móvil.
Dr. Martínez Arellano notes that the 2010 A.L.A. Annual Conference presented an “opportunity for Latin American librarians to highlight to their American colleagues serving Latino and Spanish speaking communities representative and innovative cases of library services developed in Latin American countries.” Likewise, Loida Garcia-Febo says, “The cases featured in the book are examples of initiatives to promote libraries, community engagement, and partnerships to Latinos and Spanish-speakers.

The decision to produce a bilingual e-book came rather organically. Dr. Martínez Arellano believes the book will serve to “spur other librarians to research and publish similar cases.” Ms. Garcia-Febo notes this as “an example of library associations partnering to further professional development for members.”

The book was published in December 2011 in Mexico, D.F. and is accessible at


Link to IFLA LAC


Librarians @ ABC – Tiempo TV show

Sharing links to my participation along with my colleague Manny Figueroa in Tiempo, a TV show on ABC (Channel 7 in NYC). Topics: libraries, building community, immigrants, Queens Library, Latinos and Spanish speakers. Loida Garcia-Febo

Tiempo – Segment 3

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Tiempo – Segment 4

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Pathways to Progress: Issues and Advances in Latino Librarianship

Just published! A terrific book about Latino librarianship in the Americas. The book, edited by John Ayala and Salvador Guerena and published by Libraries Unlimited from ABC-CLIO, features articles written by many library colleagues including yours truly. It is a must-have resource to stay up-to-date regarding advances and issues experienced by Latino librarians.

From the publisher’s website:

Spanish speaking or Latino groups in the United States can be Anglo, Chicano/Chicana (Mexican Americans), Chilean, Colombian, Cuban, Peruvian, or Puerto Rican. This collection mirrors the ethnic diversity of Latino population, providing a uniquely broad coverage of Latino librarians in America.

Emphasizing public, school, and academic libraries,Pathways to Progress: Issues and Advances in Latino Librarianship taps the leading minds of the Latino library world to provide expert discourse on a wide spectrum of library services to Latino patrons in the United States. This collection of articles provides an accurate, insightful discussion of the issues and advances in Latino library service.

Coverage of library service to the Latino community includes subjects such as special collections, recruitment and mentoring, leadership, collection development, reference services to gays and lesbians, children services, and special library populations. Contributors include library practitioners who are of Mexican, Chilean, Peruvian, Nicaraguan, Puerto Rican, and Cuban descent. Best practices are presented and explained in-depth with practical examples and documented citations.

• Provides representation of the various Latino and Spanish speaking communities in the United States
• Includes contributions from some of the leading voices in Latino librarianship
• Documents current developments and trends in librarianship

Access to information and the power to transform communities – Spanish version

-This post comes in English and Spanish-

I thought of letting my Spanish-speaking friends know about this November 24. The Benjamin Franklin Library at the US Embassy in Mexico is presenting a webinar in Spanish about Access to information & the power to transform communities by Loida Garcia-Febo. It is based on my experience presenting international workshops about access to information on the Internet and health (as a member of IFLA/FAIFE). I will share basics strategies used to train librarians. I will also touch upon how we can help our communities with projects and possible partnerships.

No need to reserve


Pense en dejarles saber a mis amigos de habla Hispana acerca del 24 de noviembre cuando la Biblioteca Benjamin Franklin de la Embajada de los Estados Unidos en Mexico presenta un webinar en espanol titulado Libre acceso a la informacion: el poder para transformar comunidades por Loida Garcia-Febo. Esta basado en mi experiencia presentando talleres internacionales acerca del acceso a la informacion en el Internet e informacion de salud (como miembro del comite IFLA/ FAIFE). Compartire estrategias basicas para entrenar bibliotecarios. Tambien incluire una seccion acerca de como podemos ayudar a nuestras comunidades con proyectos y posibles asociaciones para desarrollar iniciativas de impacto.

No es necesario reservar:

Chronicles of the traveling librarian

It has been two weeks since the last time I posted a message. This traveling librarian did it again. As the newest member of the legendary library club using the celebrity librarian space shuttle, I was able to witness various events.

First, congrats once again to everybody’s favorite walkers who ended their 18-month adventure last November 2. Well done and hope you don’t have to do it again 😉 Check out a cool article published on Library Journal, November 1st issue: Walking the Library System – Publishing houses look at this because the book is coming up and a good publishing house is needed…it will be a  smashing hit!

Second, onto Mexico City: FAIFE’s Paul Sturges, Barbara Jones and I presented a workshop titled IFLA/UNESCO Internet Manifesto Guidelines. It was a wonderful event where librarians from different regions in Mexico participated. We had really good discussions.  A really neat thing is that one of the librarians attending the workshop will present a talk about it at the upcoming Guadalajara International Book Fair. This is the second workshop of its nature in Latin America. The first one in Costa Rica, attended by librarians from 14 countries, was widely popular. A guest-talk about the topic was also presented by me last July in Brazil.

Mexico City has beautiful buildings reflecting old-time Spanish and French architecture. Two interesting museums are the Frida Kahlo Museum (located at the house where she and Diego Rivera lived) and the Bellas Artes Museum. With 19.2 million people (2005), the city has millions of cars and grey skies. Pollution is a serious problem which  gave me a sexy voice I didn’t need to present the workshops and a sinuses complication that I am still fighting.  Nevertheless, I had a great time.

Next, returned to New York to send a contribution to Salvador Avila (Las Vegas Public Library and ALA Councilor) for a publication coming out in June 2008. I know it will be great for the profession, particularly for information professionals serving Latinos and the Spanish speaking.  Go, Salvador! (Between you and me, he is superb at what he does!)

A guest-blog entry about Recruiting for Diversity was sent to Webjunction. It should be up within the next few days. The Recruiting for Diversity webinar is set for Tuesday, November 20. Don’t miss it!

All for now. More later…  

Link to educational webchat

As promised, here is the link to the transcription of a webchat [in Spanish] I presented last Thursday, October 25: Asegurando acceso equitativo a la información en Internet en Latinoamérica — Ensuring Equal Access to Information on the Internet in Latin America. Look for View Webchat Transcription 

Around 146 people from 34 countries participated. Rock on!


Oh My God! Menudo is back.

What is professional life without the excitement of life? Hence the re-introduction of the Menuditis caused by Menudo. I feel like I am coming out of the closet or something because I have a confession to make. I love Menudo!!! Latinos and Puerto Rican readers will know what Menudo is and for the others… a bit of history:

Menudo is still the biggest Latino boy-band that ever existed. Back in the 80s, they were the first ones to bring 100,000+ people to the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City (the biggest stadium in Latin America at the time), they were in American, Brazilian, Spaniard, and Japanese TV shows, and they brought us Ricky Martin!

Just this month, MTV launched a new series to find new members for Menudo which ceased to exist in 1996. They are bringing the band back to our radios, TVs and computers. The other day I was just surfing channels when I saw the word Menudo (aaah!) and as any good Puerto R ican girl growing up in the 80’s, stopped and watched the entire program. Oh, it just brought up so many good memories of growing up in Puerto Rico and listening to Menudo, watching their movies and weekly TV show, and generally bugging my mom to buy every single t-shirt, backpack, pencils… and you name it with the Menudo logo on it.

Alright, I have no idea if the new band will be any good but the old band was superb! and that is out of discussion 😉 While I am at it, I will mention my fav Menudo: Rene, and of course, Ray, Johny, Miguel, Xavier, Ricky I, Robby (Draco), and Ricky II (the notable Ricky Martin). I know, I know that was like a million years ago… but Menudo was the first worldwide celebrity Puerto Rican girls had…

Any comments about Menudo?

Of educational webchats

Last Thursday, October 25, I participated in a webchat in Spanish for the US Embassy in Mexico titled Asegurando acceso equitativo a la información en Internet en Latinoamérica — Ensuring Equal Access to Information on the Internet in Latin America. It was my first-ever webchat. I’ve done webinars, however webchats are so different. They have a very rapid pace because once you welcome everyone, it is like a free for all. Everyone participating in the session sends their questions in, and all of a sudden you have dozens of questions popping in every two minutes while you try to answer the most you can.

Webchats are a superb communication tool to discuss topics and share information in real-time. I love webinars because they are more quiet, I can run the Power Point slides at  my own pace and read my script. But it doesn’t compare to the thrill of a webchat! It is like having an intense conversation with many, many people at the same time – I can’t wait to do another one.

My pre-webchat preparation included sending a list of links to the Embassy organizers to post when I mentioned them. On the day of the webchat, I had half-dozen websites open on my computer, had a word document open with a list of most-useful links on the topic, and had few papers with extra information -just in case. I did post most links but everything happened so fast! I really hope I addressed most of the questions and concerns.

After all, it was fun and it was amazing that people from India, from all countries, were interested in access to information on the Internet in Latin America. I understand that many colleagues from Mexico and the Americas in general including USA, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Uruguay, joined the session. I am waiting for stats to share with you. Also coming up: link to the webchat’s transcription.

Many thanks to  the Benjamin Franklin Library in Mexico and to Benjamin Medina for the invitation, and to Claudia for all the phone calls and messages!

Ensuring Equal Access to Information on the Internet in Latin America

Alright, below is the link for this Thursday, October 25 webchat from 1:00-2:00pm (NYC and Puerto Rico time)

The webchat is presented by the US Embassy in Mexico and it is in Spanish. El webchat es en espanol.  I will speak about:

Asegurando acceso equitativo a la información en Internet en Latinoamérica — Ensuring Equal Access to Information on the Internet in Latin America

Just click on Enter Chat and follow instructions!

About the all Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Regiment

The Borinqueneers is a documentary about the never-before-told story of the 65th Infantry Regiment- the only all-Hispanic unit in the history of the U.S. Army. All Puerto Ricans.  The documentary was name named after “Borinquen,” the word meaning “land of the brave lord” given to Puerto Rico by its original inhabitants, the Taino Indians. Boricua= Puerto Rican.

THE BORINQUENEERS uncovers the circumstances surrounding the dramatic events of 1952 and explores the rich history of the 65th Puerto Rican Regiment. “I want the American people to know that we did our share,” concludes 65th veteran Wendell Vega.

Recently, a new documentary on US soldiers and war stirred controversy because Latinos were significatively left out of it. That is why I am so glad and proud that a Puerto Rican producer Lourdes Figueroa Soulet and her company, El Pozo Productions have produced such a historical documentary. Boricua, Hector Elizondo narrates the story. PBS preview it last August. I don’t feel that my position re no war conflicts with me supporting someone telling a real story about Latinos, in this case, Puerto Rican soldiers.

Puerto Ricans know very well the story of the 65th Infantry Regimen. As a matter of fact, one of the main and largest highways in the island was named after the 65th and as soon as you can talk and ask why the highway was named with such an unusual name, parents, friends, uncles will tell you the story of the all-Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Regiment.

Here I’ve copied brief summary about the documentary:

 The experience of Latinos in the U.S. Army has rarely been portrayed in film. THE BORINQUENEERS, airing as part of the August 2007 pledge drive (check local listings) on PBS, recounts the never-before-told story of the 65th Puerto Rican Regiment, the only all-Hispanic unit in the history of the U.S. Army. Narrated by Hector Elizondo (“Chicago Hope,” Pretty Woman, Cane), this compelling documentary relies on interviews with the regiment’s veterans and rare archival footage to trace the unique experience of the 65th, culminating in the Korean War and the dramatic events that would threaten the unit’s very existence.

Named after “borinquen,” the word meaning “land of the brave lord” given to Puerto Rico by its original inhabitants, the Taino Indians, the Borinqueneers formed a tight-knit unit bound by a common language and a strong cultural identity. First-time director and producer Noemi Figueroa Soulet spent eight years researching the story and locating veterans of the regiment, some of whom have since passed away. In emotional interviews, they describe in vivid detail the experience of fighting together.

Through their voices, THE BORINQUENEERS explores the unique history of the 65th Regiment, a history that illustrates many of the issues surrounding the U.S. relationship with Puerto Rico and the broader Latino experience.

“Puerto Ricans occupy a very special place in the history of the U.S. Army,” says Figueroa Soulet. “As a former colony and now a commonwealth, we don’t have the right to vote in U.S. elections, and yet we serve in the military and we can be drafted. It’s a paradox, but for many of the veterans of the 65th, it became an incentive to be even more patriotic, to prove themselves in battle 200 percent.”

In 1950, more than 50 years after the regiment was created, the men of the 65th finally had the opportunity to prove their mettle in the Korean War, the first military conflict in which they were full participants. In spite of the prejudice that was still the norm in the Army, they performed impressively during the first years of the war, even earning kudos from General MacArthur. “I was glad that the Puerto Ricans were on my side,” says Colonel Willis “Bud” Cronkhite, who was in charge of one of the regiment’s companies. “I would not want them to come after me with a bayonet!”

But as the Korean War bogged down into a stalemate, the regiment felt the full weight of the new “hold at all costs” strategy, losing many of its men in impossible missions. “The hill looked as if there had never been any vegetation there,” recalls veteran Eugenio Martinez Matos. “There were pieces of legs with shoes. Sometimes you would slip on them. It was a very traumatic experience.”

In October 1952, the regiment faced one of its toughest missions when several companies were sent to defend a barren outpost against overwhelming enemy fire. Following a massive mortar barrage, several dozen men abandoned their positions. Wrapped in mystery and controversy to this day, the real story of what happened that day and the days that followed has never been told until now.

The dramatic events are recounted by men like Colonel Carlos Betances, whose life and career were forever changed that day. “I tried to convince the men to go back,” he recalls. “When I mentioned to them that a court-martial can sentence you to death and be shot, one of them told me, ‘Colonel, I’d rather take a chance and be shot down here than stay up there and for sure I’ll die.'”

More than 90 Puerto Rican soldiers were tried in one of the largest courts-martial of the Korean War. The trials touched off a groundswell of protests in Puerto Rico and drew the attention of the U.S. press. “It was the first case in this war in which men from a unit that won international recognition for bravery unexplainedly seemed to have changed their character under fire,” wrote The New York Times.

THE BORINQUENEERS uncovers the circumstances surrounding the dramatic events of 1952 and explores the rich history of the 65th Puerto Rican Regiment. “I want the American people to know that we did our share,” concludes 65th veteran Wendell Vega.

Underwriters: Oxford Advisors, Inc., Citizens Educational Foundation and others.