The Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM) held its first meeting in 1956 when about 30 librarians and professors and one international bookseller met at Chinsegut Hill, Florida, to discuss and try to solve problems "concerned with the selection, acquisition, and processing of library materials from the Latin American nations and the dependent territories of the Caribbean." The conference was originally intended as a one-time effort, but it became immediately apparent that more extensive study of the problems was needed, and it was agreed to continue the discussion through the medium of annual seminars held at the invitation of an institution or organization. Plenary sessions of each conference consider (1) the topic of the conference and (2) committee reports and progress made on SALALM-sponsored activities.
Since its founding, SALALM has provided the only national and international forum focused exclusively on collection development and services in libraries with Latin American collections. In 1968, SALALM was incorporated as a nonprofit association, a constitution and bylaws were adopted, and A. Curtis Wilgus was elected the first president. SALALM is administered by an Executive Board. Various Executive Board committees handle the operational aspects. Program committees are devoted to the intellectual and technical activities related to the collections and services of libraries with Latin American resources. The SALALM Secretariat is housed for periods of from three to five years in institutions with strong Latin American programs. At the present time, the Secretariat is at the Latin American Library at Tulane University in New Orleans. The Executive Secretary is Hortensia Calvo.
SALALM's primary missions are the control and dissemination of bibliographic information about all types of Latin American publications and the development of library collections of Latin Americana in support of educational research. Promotion of cooperative efforts to achieve better library service is an equally important activity. SALALM is also concerned with the special problems of librarians of Latin America and the Caribbean and with library development in those areas. Providing library materials for the Spanish-and Portuguese-speaking populations in the United States is another field of interest. Through various committees the members of SALALM promote, conduct, and participate in research and studies of current and potential problems. The compilation of bibliographies is an especially important aspect of these studies.
Conference Dates & Sites
The President and Vice-President change at the end of each annual conference.
Board of Directors