On February 27-28 and March 1 2023, the Mid-term Meeting of IFLA Regional Division for Latin America and the Caribbean (IFLA LAC RDC) and the International Advocacy Seminar: “Transformation and Empowerment of Libraries in Latin America and the Caribbean” were held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Mid-term Meeting

Meetings were held on site on February 27 and 28 at the Center for Puerto Rico, Sila M. Calderón  Foundation, in Río Piedras, with the option to participate online for those members who were unable  to attend. The Organizing Committee was headed by Jeannette Lebrón, librarian and member of the  Regional Division, who established the links with the University of Puerto Rico Library System so that  this event could take place.

During the opening ceremony of the Meeting, Alejandro Santa, Chair of the Division, said: “We have  the responsibility to keep up with the proposed cultural and technological changes in order to maintain the leading role of libraries”. Besides, during the closed meetings with the members of the Division, he submitted a Management Report for 2022, and thanked all the members of IFLA LAC Regional Division and its hosts. He highlighted the partnerships that were made and the joint work with all the libraries of the region.

During the meetings, each subcommittee reported on its Action Plans and updates, sharing the difficulties and progress made in each working group. Each member of the Region described the situation of its country and provided details on potential projects to be developed and those currently underway These meetings gave rise to new proposals to continue establishing professional links for the common good of the region, such as joint collaboration agreements between the libraries of the region.

International Advocacy Seminar “Transformation and empowerment of libraries in Latin America and the Caribbean”

The seminar presentations took place at the Center for Puerto Rico, Sila M. Calderón Foundation, in Río Piedras. Their main themes focused on discussing the strategic priorities of the field among all the countries of the region that participate in IFLA, and also on promoting the discussion on the defense of libraries and on disseminating cases of successful experiences regarding the transformation and innovation of library services in recent years.

As Alejandro Santa pointed out in his opening speech, organizing this seminar in the Caribbean was  an objective that has been proposed since the beginning of the Regional Division’s management in  order to make visible and strengthen the ties between Latin America and the Caribbean. He thanked Jeannette Lebrón and Nancy Abreu (Director of the University of Puerto Rico Library System) and other  authorities for making it possible to foster initiatives that put advocacy at the center of the  agenda and promote young emerging leaders in the region.

In this context, different experiences of regional library activism were shared. Speakers included Jonathan Hernandez, member of IFLA Governing Board; Loida García Febo, former president of ALA and international consultant; Jeanitza Jacobus, Director of the National Library of Curaçao; Hilda Teresa Ayala, Director of the National Library of Puerto Rico, among other important speakers.

At the end of the event, an internship agreement was signed between the Library of Congress of Argentina and the Bolivian Association of Information Science Professionals. The purpose of this  agreement is to establish a collaborative relationship between the parties in the implementation of  internships consisting of professional practices for a specified period of time (5 to 10 days) for the  Bolivian and Argentine library staff, with the aim of gaining experience and knowledge of the work  and the new technologies used in both countries, carrying out research, development, promotion,  education, and training tasks in both institutions.

You will find the invitation sent for this seminar at the following link: bit.ly/3yrmeSn

Here is a video of the seminar

Visit to the Legislative Library of Puerto Rico “Tomás Bonilla Feliciano”

As part of the professional and cultural exchange, members of the Regional Division were invited to  visit the Legislative Library of Puerto Rico “Tomás Bonilla Feliciano”, in charge of Aída Sepúlveda and  Sonia Pacheco, who provided valuable support for the mid-term meeting during the three days. In  addition to the visit to the library, they offered a guided tour to the Capitol and made arrangements  for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rafael Hernandez, to meet the delegation. In this  meeting, Alejandro Santa expressed his gratitude to the political authorities for receiving the  Argentine delegation, and pointed out how important it is for politicians to value the social role of  libraries.

Visit to the General Archive and National Library of Puerto Rico

The Chair of the Regional Division was invited by Hilda Teresa Ayala to visit the headquarters of the  General Archive and National Library of Puerto Rico, where they had the opportunity to talk about the  challenges faced by libraries in Puerto Rico and the region, as well as to explore possible ways to  strengthen the links between the country and IFLA.