Madrid’s LIBER, 2006

WESS Newsletter

Spring 2007, Vol. 30 No. 2

By Lynn Shirey (

A group of 16 Latin American and Iberian Studies librarians, all members of SALALM, were invited to LIBER this year by the “America Reads Spanish” program, an initiative of Spain’s ICEX (Instituto de Comercio Exterior). Librarians from US public libraries with large Spanish language collections were also in attendance. This professional trade show alternates yearly between Madrid and Barcelona; the location for 2006 was the IFEMA convention center in the outskirts of Madrid, a convenient trip by subway from our centrally located hotels.

Our hosts (ARS) created a meeting agenda through which publishers made appointments with us to showcase their materials and discuss our collecting interests. This turned out to be a good opportunity to explain our interests and needs, which were largely foreign to them. (They are more familiar with, or interested in, the public library and bookstore markets). Many were truly surprised that academic libraries collected as intensively as they do. While some of these meetings were interesting, the true value of LIBER was the opportunity to view publications of numerous small or specialized publishers that many of us have not received via our various approval plans. Although it was not possible to purchase materials at LIBER, we did collect scores of publishers’ catalogs, lists, flyers, and free copies of some titles.

One of the new firms I discovered was Cuadernos del Vigía (Granada), a small publisher of poetry and fiction, including a series of free short stories called “Cuentos para el autobus,” which is distributed on city buses in Andalucía. These stories are contributed by well known contemporary Spanish writers and have not been published previously. They also publish quality poetry titles and artists’ books, some of which I will purchase. The Diputación de Córdoba produces many interesting titles that aren’t well distributed by vendors. The “Ministerios” (government ministries) publish many important titles, such as analyses of the cultural industry, tourism, etc. — which are often free of charge but difficult to obtain. The CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) is an important publisher of monograph series of interest to academic libraries. We receive many, of these through our approval plan vendors, but not all. The publisher has offered a generous discount to our libraries if we purchase these materials directly from them.

Many members of the group took the opportunity to meet at length with some of the better known Spanish book vendors: Iberbook-Sánchez Cuesta, Puvill Libros and Iberoamericana all sent representatives to the fair, and some of us visited their offices. Several of us met with Marcial Pons, a publisher of social science titles that also owns a number of bookstores and provides approval plan services. They offer humanities titles and serial subscriptions, and can supply minimal-level MARC records.
Many librarians took advantage of the trip to purchase DVD versions of Spanish feature and documentary films. FNAC, the Corte Inglés, the Filmoteca Española were good sources for DVDs, and the publisher Ocho y Media for books on Spanish cinema. La Casa del Libro and Librería Antonio Machado were good places to find general publications, while there were several useful specialized bookstores, among them Madrid Comics (graphic novels), Librería Berkana (gay and lesbian titles), and Librería Iberoamericana (Latin American materials). A group of librarians visited the Biblioteca Nacional, where we were given an insiders’ tour of the collections and departments.
Please see Iberian Studies in SALALM (ISiS) for a compilation of several reports edited by Scott Van Jacob, University of Notre Dame.