February 17, 2018

More than 200 Librarians Attend Guadalajara Book Fair

By LJ Staff

The Spanish-speaking world’s most important and energetic book fair, Guadalajara’s Feria Internacional del Libro (FIL), just celebrated its 20th anniversary. From November 25-December 3, the Expo Guadalajara was filled with representatives from more than 1600 publishing houses and 16,700 book professionals from 39 countries. Despite political turmoil and protests in Mexico that preceded the swearing in of president-elect Felipe Calderón on December 1, over half a million locals – a record number – roamed the show floor on evenings and weekends.

Since 1998, FIL has partnered with the American Library Association (ALA) to sponsor U.S. librarians through the "Free Pass" program, which provides free registration, accommodations for three nights, and $100 toward airfare. This year, ALA and FIL covered most of the expenses for 215 ALA member librarians. At a gala dinner, Adalín Torres- Zayas, principal librarian for technical services, Inglewood Public Library, CA, and Elissa Miller, collection development librarian, Arlington Public Library, VA, were presented with a commemorative book celebrating FIL’s 20th anniversary. Torres-Zayas and Miller have been attending the fair since its very beginning. The dinner was sponsored by ALA, FIL, Baker & Taylor, Brodart, Editorial Océano de México, Fondo de Cultura Económica USA, Lectorum Publications, Panamericana Publishing, Puvill Libros, Santillana USA, Urano USA, and Críticas (a Library Journal sister publication).

"There are so many countries represented at the fair that are not [always accessible] in the United States," said Daniel Berdaner, assistant manager of the Arcadia Park Branch, Dallas Public Library, who spent $19,000 on books and DVDs for the adult collection for all 25 branches of the city. Two other Dallas librarians also went to FIL to buy materials for children’s and YA collections. As always, this year’s event included author panels and book signings by renowned writers such as Tomás Eloy Martínez, Carlos Fuentes, and Elena Poniatowska. The programming also highlighted U.S. authors whose works have been translated, including Jonathan Lethem and Elizabeth Kostova.