A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


When people ask me what REFORMA is I mostly answer that it is a Latino library advocacy group or "The National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking".

However, you don't have to be Latino to join, and this year's Mini-Conference was a "Joint" venture between the American Indian Library Association, the Chinese American Librarians Association, the Asian Pacific American Librarian's Association, and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc. As such, it advocates for library programming that caters to a Spanish-speaking audience, and this sometimes means yes, service to illegals immigrants.

The topic that the mini-conf discussed was, "Cultural Competencies and Equity of Access: What Today's Librarian Will Look Like Tomorrow," and I have to say it was a very appropriate one given the unemployment rates that abound. I myself was drawn to this event because I am currently looking for work as a librarian in California. To that end, this conference was extremely useful in pinpointing what it means to be a facilitator with a MLS. It means that a large part of your future job is going to entail the ability to liaison with department heads but also people from the community that may not have earned PhDs.

Therefore, the librarian of tomorrow has to be able to handle several audiences and speak with candor about the importance and obligations of a large library. The panels that I heard there have changed my mind about the importance of outreach and how versatile employers need for their librarians to be; it's almost as if, employers of librarians are saying in desperate unison that they don't have the money to support petty divisions of labor. A librarian of the future must be able to catalog and produce metadata, consult and instruct, deploy and contract, asynchronous and one on one, virtual, viral, and pugnacious about the importance of the hub that the library invents and recedes from every day on every campus on every country in the world.

The keynote speaker was Camila Alire and she gave a lecture via powerpoint on Cultural Competencies. Alire made several interesting points about diversity and the ability for people to empathize with people from other cultures. Her lecture via powerpoint was lively but personal as she related the valuable lessons she had leaned from her experiences working in the library of the U of New Mexico with Native American librarians. Alire said that even though she grew up around Native Americans, it wasn't until she worked with Native American libraries that she learned what she knows about Native American culture.

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