In order to analyze that and step in, the 19th International Colloquium of Librarians which takes place on 26, 27 and 28 November 2012 within the framework of the Guadalajara International Book Fair, has invited a notorious group of speakers who will share their research, reflections and experiences in the central event theme entitled I read, you read…reading in libraries. The primary objective is to point out the close link between reading and libraries, namely to make known the multiple ways of interacting with reading in libraries: their meaning, their integration into society even into readers´ behavior and the way readers surf as well as kinds of readers and reading tendencies. Beyond reading activities, reading in libraries is to maximize its essential function: to enjoy and be transformed from the experience derived from it and when reading is a common experience there is the opportunity to partake of together.
Umberto Eco defines his vision on Reading, “A library is the best possible imitation of a divine mind wherein the universe can be seen and understood, all at the same time. A person capable to store in his mind the information provided by a large library would emulate, figuratively speaking, God´s mind. In other words, we invent libraries because we are aware of our lack of divine powers, but we do everything we can to imitate them.
Thus, to paraphrase Eco, as an imitation of the divine, libraries become a rallying point for academy, science, research, and literature; they are like a “living laboratory” that generates not only new knowledge but also fertile ground for new readers who have found themselves in the need to locate a decent and comfortable place to pursue knowledge. Many factors have contributed to attract library users to the reading rooms such as: small space living, prolonged time at universities/work, large distances between school/home, all these elements have provided a bridge between users and libraries, where libraries give the necessary spaces to carry out different activities where reading stands out.
But, are libraries an apt place for just reading? No doubt there will be a variety of views expressed about this statement, so the reason we are gathered here today is with the idea to expand this proposal and to carry it out, inviting the library users beyond school visits and school homework/research. We, as librarians, have to re-think the strategies of our trade, let us extend an invitation to our colleagues to generate new readers and keep reading rooms of our libraries alive. Let us promote libraries in general, let us build networks to open a gamut of levels of communication and interaction with different social groups, let us transmit that particular emotion for reading; let us learn from public libraries such as the one proposed by Chile, the guest of honor at the latest edition of the Feria Internacional del Libro (FIL), that is founded in “libraries alive” and their vinculation with various communities, readers and even with a diversity of styles of reading.
As librarians, we share the love for books, their care and preservation, but we also share this love with the readers and users and, all together, contribute to keep library collections alive.
Brought together by this International Colloquium, we have the opportunity to know and partake of several proposals before this alchemy of knowledge, where reading and library are the protagonists. We purposely chose this specific theme with the aim of increasing awareness of the experiences of various organizations and people because we are convinced that the core of the library task is doubtless “reading”.
In addition to the Colloquium, two workshops will be offered in afternoon sessions directly related with the general thematic of the event.
We will enjoy of three keynote speeches/master lectures as well:
The first lecture will be given by Verónica Abud, from Chile. She will expose the successful project named “Biblioteca Viva” (“Library Alive”); also with us on this occasion is Adolfo Rodríguez Gallardo, from Mexico, who will talk about the importance of reading in Latin American libraries; and finally, Adelaida Nieto, from Colombia, who will speak on the functionality of reading in the integral growth of human beings. The three speakers will discuss concepts and views, from different angles, about libraries being generators of reading, literacy, knowledge and the use of word.
This Colloquium will have the privilege of welcoming renowned specialists in the different areas of library sciences, education and cultural in general, they will also cover aspects related to the topic of the event with the support of four workshops.
1. The library as a provider of reading spaces
2. Libraries and readers, a love story
3. Reading in a “digital era”
4. Library and reader, future scenarios
In connection with this event, 2 tributes are scheduled: one in honor to the bibliophile and other to the librarian.
The first tribute is in honor to those individuals who devote their lives to preserve collections and value documentary heritage of humanity through the conformation of collections and libraries or their rescue.
The second seeks to recognize and pay tribute to the figure of that individual who administers, manages and promotes libraries and information sciences, to those who work in the institutions. Librarians serving the user, giving him the tools to resolve his information requests through personal reading and research thus enabling him to know and understand and that at all times they can use the library as the perfect spot for promoting reading, do reading and housing reading material
For this reason, the varied Works and proposals to be presented at the Colloquium will enrich the discussion and debate, opening new and renewed challenges for continuing promoting “the art of reading in libraries”.
Sergio López Ruelas
President of the Organizing Committee