Hispanic Heritage Month Lecture

Into the Latin American Archive by Prof. Kathryn Burns. Oct. 10, 2011.

Prof. Kathryn Burns described her time as a researcher in a Latin American archive – which was located in a rented apartment! She recalled how historical documents were stored on the floor in the hallways, and even in the bathroom. As a researcher she had to dodge the water droplets from the leaky roof, trying to protect her materials. As she described these conditions, I thought about how different libraries could be in other countries, especially Latin American nations that may still be developing. American librarians are struggling with their own budget cuts and losing their jobs, but I don’t know of any archives in the US that store their materials in bathrooms. The talk really put some things in perspective, and how other places around the world can be struggling a lot more with their collections, and it’s not something that a lot of librarians, let alone Americans in general, may spend much time contemplating.


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