IFLANET home - International Federation of Library Associations and InstitutionsAnnual ConferenceSearchContacts

61st IFLA General Conference - Conference Proceedings - August 20-25, 1995

Section on Regional Activities: Latin America and the Caribbean

Annual Report 1994

Maria Elena Zapata
Biblioteca Nacional de Venezuela
Las Mercedes, Calle Paris
Edificio Macanao
piso 2, Apartado 6525
Caracas 1010
Fax: (58-02) 9933093
is Chair of the Section on Regional Activities: Latin America and the Caribbean.

Estela Morales Campos

Torre II de Humanidades Pisos 12 7 13
Ciudad Universitaria
Mexico D.F. 04510
Fax: (52-5) 5507461
is Secretary.

Standing Committee and Section Membership

The Standing Committee has 13 members from 12 countries, and three special advisors. The Regional Manager, Elizabet Carvalhos de Ramos, is an ex-officio member of the Standing Committee. Section regi stration totals 84.

Regional Office

The Office, which also functions as an IFLA Clearinghouse, has two locations, one at the Biblioteca Nacional in Rio de Janeiro and the other at FEBAB Headquarters in Sao Paulo, which functions as the Clearinghouse component of the Regional Office. The office handles requests for information about IFLA, librarianship and information science activities in LAC, bibliographic references which are no t in the Clearinghouse, and events in the region; invitations to participate in events. The Clearinghouse receives an increasing number of librarians interested in conducting research in its collecti on, and to meet the demand remains open one night a week.


The Office also issues a bilingual Newsletter (English and Spanish), two issues, Nos. 24 and 25 being distributed in July and December 1994 in 500 copies. During the report period the Newsletter layo ut was modified to facilitate reading, and to make it more attractive. A next step, planned for 1995, is the inclusion of a questionnaire to evaluate the reader's impression of its new format. The pr oduction and distribution of the Newsletter is sponsored by Imprensa Oficial do Estado de Sao Paulo.


The Office also prepared and distributed a brochure about its work in three languages (Spanish, English and Portuguese). It also distributed IFLA's general membership brochure to many interested asso ciations, institutions and individuals in the region.

Contributed Papers

During the report period the Office sent out a call for papers for the regional competition, and prepared a shortlist of eight titles, from which one was selected by the Professional Board for presen tation in Havana.


Guidelines for Management of Professional Associations

The Standing Committee and the Regional Office will provide translations into Portuguese and Spanish of the Guidelines for the Management of Professional Associations in the Fields of Archives, Li braries and Information Work. The title, prepared by Russell Bowden under a UNESCO contact with IFLA, was published by UNESCO in 1989.


2nd International Meeting of Portuguese Speaking Librarians

The Meeting, held in Nitroi, Brazil, 3-8 April 1994, was organized by FEBAB (Federaçao Brasileira de Associaçoes de Bibliotecarios) and sponsored by the Portuguese Library Association, the ALP Core Programme, the Section and other institutions in Brazil. The main objectives of the meeting were to plan joint actions to achieve better performance in libraries and information services of Portuguese-speaking countries, and to set up working groups to help in the development of joint actions. Librarians from Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Moçambique and Portugal attended the me eting. Recommendations from the meeting included 1) the holding of a caucus of Portuguese speaking librarians at all IFLA Conferences, and 2) that the Executive Board consider the establishment of Po rtuguese as an IFLA language.


The meeting, held in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 12-15 April 1994, had as theme: "Information Transfer on the Eve of the Year 2000". It was a promotion of FEBAB, and was attended by 1800 librarians and i nformation science professionals from Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and the United States. The Standing Committee for LAC also met during the meeting; the main topics discussed were : prioritization of ALP projects; preparation for forthcoming IFLA Conferences, and action items from the Executive and Professional Board meetings held prior to the meeting.

ALP Meeting in Uppsala

The meeting, held in Uppsala, 5-8 April 1994 was attended by Ivone Talamo, Maria Elena Zapata, and Estela Morales. One of the items for discussion was the relationship of the ALP Core Programme with the Regional Sections and other IFLA professional units. The following agreements were reached:

Future Meetings

Istanbul 1995

The Regional Office sent out a call for papers for the Istanbul Conference. Prospective authors were given the theme, "Virtual Libraries: Reality, Possibility or Purpose of a Dream" on which to base their papers.

Havana Meetings

Caucus of Portuguese-speaking Countries

The Regional Manager coordinated the caucus of Portuguese-speaking countries, which held a meeting during the Havana Conference. The caucus will be a regular feature at IFLA Conferences in the future .

Carta de La Habana

During the official sessions of LAC, topics related to strengthening the interaction and collaboration towards development in librarianship among the countries of the region. The intent of cooperatio n and interchange of information started with a dialogue between ABGRA (Asociación de Bibliotecarios Graduados de la República Argentina) and ASCUBI (Asociación Cubana de Bibliot ecarios) that stated seven initial points for agreement to be subscribed by representatives of both associations. A Letter of Intention was endorsed by delegates of countries interested in the propos al. To the seven points proposed by ABGRA and ASCUBI were added four more by representatives of Chile and Colombia and the IFLA Regional Office. The Letter of Intention was presented to the Secretary General of IFLA during the Havana Conference. The terms of the Letter, Carta de La Habana, are reproduced below:
  1. Interchange of information materials
  2. Joint research on scientific and technological themes of librarianship
  3. Edition of joint publications on research in librarianship
  4. Continuous education and training of professionals and teachers by the parties involved
  5. Interchange of teachers and researchers, through courses offered on librarianship and scientific and technological information
  6. Realization of specialized joint workshops and conferences on library science subjects aiming at the interchange of experiences in this field
  7. Interchange of experiences and projects in library and information science
  8. Promotion of the education, updating and training on preservation and conservation of our cultural heritage
  9. Establishment and development of research programmes on preservation and conservation of the cultural heritage aiming at the unification of criteria
  10. Establishment and maintenance of relations for interchange and cooperation with institutions with common objectives.

The Letter was signed by representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela inviting all institutions and organizations involved with library and information sciences of all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to subscribe, with the hope that this will become the beginning of a new series of activities that will contribute to the development of librarianship in the region.

Open sessions

The Section co-sponsored the open session, joint with the Sections for Africa and Asia and Oceania, on the theme: "Conservation and Preservation". The following paper was presented:

Preservación de archivos históricos: planos arquitectónicos antiguos de la colección del Ministerio de Desarrollo Urbano de Venezuela

Este documento describe el proceso de rescate de un conjunto de planos que conforman el Archivo Histórico del Ministerio de Desarrollo Urbano de Venezuela (MINDUR). Comenta las etapas que cont ribuyeron a su rescate: diagnóstico, limpieza, ambalaje, tratamientos de conservación y preservación. Lo más importante en el desarrollo de este trabajo fue la estabilidad del material sin llegar a ser sometido a restauraciones severas e innecesarias. Este trabajo fue llevado a cabo gracias al apoyo financiero del Centro Cultural Consolidado.

It held its own open session with the theme: "La cooperación regional para el desarrollo social, cultural y bibliotecario" with the following papers:

Library Cooperation for Social and Cultural Development within the Caribbean Area

The policy of cooperation has produced effective and efficient results in terms of services where it has been put to use: bibliographical database; collective regional catalogue; and cooperative purc hasing of automation systems for libraries. The methods of cooperation for the Caribbean region are examined in this paper.

La cooperación regional para el desarrollo social, cultural y bibliotecario

Las bibliotecas públicas en los países en desarrollo han demostrado que se encuentran casi siempre en el último lugar de la lista de prioridades de los gobiernos. Partiendo de es ta realidad, se trata de explicar teóricamente aquí, las causas de esta situación, utilizando para ello la teoría del Estado y los aportes de algunos autores latinoamerica nos, para concluir que éstas son aparatos ideológicos del Estado sin valor relativo.

La producción Latinoamericana, como apoyo al desarrollo de la región

To increase the production of publications in library science and their accessibility are two important points to be considered in Latin America. To make this possible, it is necessary to improve the existing research programmes and to support post-graduate studies in this field. INFOBILA, the Latin American database in information and library science, created by the University Center for Librar y Research of the National University of Mexico, is a response to the demand of professionals who are involved in different aspects of library science. Through INFOBILA, it has been possible not only to know what has been published in the region, but also to access the documents which have been incorporated in this information system.

The Retrospective Conversion of the Handbook of Latin American Studies, Volumes 1-49

The Handbook of Latin American Studies, edited by the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress and published by the University of Texas Press, is the bibliography most widely consulted by Latin Americanists throughout the world. The Handbook's current data resides in MARC format in one of the Library of Congress' MUMS files and includes annotated records for books, serial articles, bo ok chapters, and conference proceedings. The Handbook staff is currently working toward retrospective conversion to electronic format of volumes 1-49 of the Handbook, a project that would entail digi tizing about 215,000 annotated citations and the author and subject indexes to the past 49 volumes. This paper discusses the Handbook staff's decision-making process for this project. The ideal solut ion would be to convert the retrospective volumes directly to MARC format and merge the ensuing records with the current Handbook file. However, because of fiscal and time constraints, we have decide d to approach this project in a more modest way, creating a simple ASCII database on CD-ROM. As funds become available, we hope to merge the current database with the retrospective one, and provide I nternet access to all volumes.

El enriquecimiento professional bibliotecario en el cono sur a través de la cooperación

El trabajo destaca la importancia de la cooperación en Bibliotecología especialmente en el campo del enriquecimiento profesional realizado a través de una diversidad de acciones y reseña a manera de ejemplo algunos antecedentes de cooperación en este terreno el área de América Latina refiriéndose especialmente al proyecto apoyado por IFLA/L AC denominado "Asociación de Escuelas de Bibliotecología en el Cono Sur".


The Section co-sponsored a workshop together with the Section on Government Information and Official Publications on "Second Latin American and the Caribbean Seminar on Government Information and Off icial Publications". It also co-sponsored a second workshop joint with the Section of Libraries for the Blind and the ALP Core Programme entitled: "Assessment of Needs on Library Service to the Visua lly Handicapped in Latin America and the Caribbean".