Book fairs in many parts of the world are highly popular and energetic events. This was definitely the case in April in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the 34th International Book Fair took place. Pamela Graham, Latin American & Iberian Studies Librarian and the acting director of Area Studies and the Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research, recently traveled to the Book Fair as part of a group of about a dozen librarians from the U.S. Below is a description of her trip.
“The Fair set aside the first four (tranquil) days for library, publishing and other information professionals, after which the event opened to the general public (not so tranquil). This year there were over 1,500 exhibitors and participants from 48 countries and by closing day on May 12th over 1 million persons had visited the fair. I was able to purchase materials and learn more about regional and provincial publishers and spoke with more established publishers about trends and priorities in their programs. I also had the chance to meet with our long-term vendors based in Argentina and spent some time reviewing books with them. The last few days of my visit to Argentina were spent going to bookstores and the offices of several NGOs working on human rights issues.
A side trip to Montevideo, Uruguay, about a 45 minute flight from Buenos Aires, offered the opportunity to visit several archives. I was the guest of the Archivo General de la Nación and toured their facility. My program of activities included visits to several smaller archives housed at the Universidad de la República, the country’s largest and oldest university (founded 1848). The Center for Interdisciplinary Latin American Studies and the Center for Uruguayan Interdisciplinary Studies have extensive collections related to the period of military rule in Uruguay, 1973-1985. Their holdings included specialized newspapers and serials, along with oral histories of individuals involved in political opposition movements. The main University Archives has been assembling papers and documents related to faculty members who were persecuted or disappeared during military rule. The head archivist at the Archivo General attended last fall’s human rights documentation conference at Columbia and I look forward to maintaining contact with colleagues in this country. The visit to Uruguay ended with an afternoon at the famous bookstore of Linardi y Risso, our main approval vendor.” [see photo]