Unexpected Encounters with Book Arts – and Dartmouth – in Guadalajara

Last November, I traveled to the 30th annual Feria international del libro (FIL) in Guadalajara, Mexico.  This is a major international book fair, with 2,042 publishers representing 47 countries.

Celebrity sighting: Rigoberta Menchú in the FIL 2016

I was one of 200 librarians from public and academic libraries in North America attending the book fair, my travel and lodging sponsored by the American Library Association’s ALA-FIL Free Pass Program. For some of my colleagues, book shopping at the FIL is a competitive sport.  They wheel around suitcases bulging with purchases, and post pictures on Facebook of the boxes of books destined for their R1 library.  I’m more of a JV player when it comes to the FIL. Buying books is certainly central to my trip.  But it is the other, less tangible things, like unexpected encounters with a new publisher, author, or colleagues, that I hope for.  These can have the most enduring impact.

One such encounter happened at this year’s FIL.  I was inside a stall occupied by three independent publishers from Mexico, with my head down in a book, when suddenly I heard someone ask, “Dartmouth?”

I looked up, a little startled, and nodded.  Clemente Orozco introduced himself, smiled, and said, with a handshake, “I’m Clemente, Class of ’85.”

Clemente Orozco ’85 with linotype in the Impronta studios

I learned that Clemente, the director of Taller Impronta, a letterpress and fine press book publisher in Guadalajara, is a Dartmouth graduate.  As we talked, I also learned that this “’85” is the grandson of José Clemente Orozco, whose mural, The Epic of American Civilization, located in the Baker Reserve Corridor, is classified as a National Historic Monument.

Later that week, Clemente welcomed me and two other librarians to the Impronta studios, where we toured the workshop with its dozens of letterpress and linotype presses.  After lunch, we visited Orozco’s murals in the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Palacio de Gobierno.  As we walked the city, Clemente pointed out architectural landmarks: art deco buildings, his grandfather’s house, built upon his return to Mexico in the 1930s, and a house designed by Luis Barragán.

Clemente Orozco ’85 and Melissa Padilla ’16 at the Impronta studios

A further unexpected coincidence that evening brought us together with current Dartmouth student Melissa Padilla ’16.  Melissa was in Guadalajara to conduct interviews for her senior thesis project, and together we dined on enchiladas, tamales, and strawberry atoles.  It was a beautiful Dartmouth moment to see an ’85 and a ’16, both from Guadalajara, meet and share their experiences at the College.  We ended the evening back at the Impronta studios, where a book launch and gallery opening celebrated a new edition, Al circo, illustrated by Clemente, and an exhibit of prints from La Mano press, a printmaking collective in Michoacán, led by Artemio Rodríguez.

Meeting Clemente at the Guadalajara FIL was not only unexpected, but fortuitous, given Dartmouth’s commitment to the book arts and the cultural production of Mexico.  At present, Sarah Smith, Book Arts Workshop Program Manager and I are exploring ways to collaborate with Clemente Orozco in the coming year, perhaps inviting him to campus as a visiting artist, or even conceiving of ways to bring Dartmouth to Guadalajara via an experiential learning opportunity.  I did send boxes of books home, many of them intended for specific faculty and students.  One never knows what one will find at the FIL!

Open Dartmouth: Research, Data, Code, Ideas

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 8.57.31 PMA new exhibit in Berry Main Street, “Open Dartmouth: Research, Data, Code, Ideas,” highlights faculty and researchers at Dartmouth who believe in the importance of sharing their work freely.  This exhibit follows on the heels of the Dartmouth Arts & Sciences faculty’s recent adoption of an open access policy, yet seeks to broaden the notion of what “open” means by highlighting diverse types of scholarly sharing.  The faculty and researchers featured in this exhibit describe in their own words how and why they make their work available on the open web.  By presenting the rationale for why these researchers choose “open,” this exhibit aims to foster critical awareness about access to knowledge in today’s digital environment.

Members of the Education & Outreach committee and the Working Group on Open Access, including Jill Baron, Sarah Scully, Shirley Zhao, Barbara DeFelice, Laura Barrett and Janifer Holt, collaborated on producing this exhibit, soliciting participation from a wide range of campus scholars.  Special thanks goes to Sarah Scully and Dennis Grady for the poster design.

The Open Dartmouth that you currently see is just the beginning of a series of physical exhibits featuring Dartmouth faculty and researchers.  We welcome the opportunity to feature more scholars, whether they be faculty, students, or staff.  So tell us, why do YOU share your work?  Let us know, and we’ll include you in part 2 of “Open Dartmouth”, scheduled for Fall 2015. We welcome recommendations too!  Please contact Jill Baron or Barbara DeFelice.

Mourning Charlie Hebdo (and why collecting historical newspapers matters)

ATTENTAT-CHARLIE-550

You’ve probably heard the news this morning.  As editors for Charlie Hebdo met for their weekly Wednesday morning meeting today, January 7, 2015, at least two armed intruders wielding automatic rifles opened fire in the satirical newspaper’s offices in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, killing twelve of the newspaper’s employees. Among the dead are Charlie Hebdo’s editorial director, Charb, and cartoonists Cabu, Wolinski and Tignous. French President François Hollande is calling this a “terrorist attack.” It is also without a doubt an attack on freedom of speech. This is not the first time that the Charlie Hebdo has come under attack. In 2011, the offices of Charlie Hebdo were firebombed for having published a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad.  Nor is it completely out of the ordinary for French newspapers to raise ire, as this timeline from Le Monde “50 years of attacks against the French media” shows. However, today’s attack is certainly the deadliest.

Since the early 1970s, Charlie Hebdo has occupied a place in the radical left of the French media, publishing news and cartoons that are both humorous and harshly critical of current events. This past summer, prompted by the recommendation of Assistant Professor of French Lucas Hollister, the library acquired the entire back run of the first iteration of Charlie Hebdo, including all issues published from 1970-1981. Hollister saw the value in students having first-hand access to this highly visual representation of politics and culture in France in the 1970s. Few libraries in North America have such complete holdings from the first generation of Charlie Hebdo, and this acquisition offers an opportunity for students and faculty to examine this important voice in the satirical press.  It also reminds us of the singular role that academic libraries and archives serve in preserving and providing access to marginalized voices from around the world.

Dartmouth’s complete holdings of Charlie Hebdo are on Berry Lower Level: http://libcat.dartmouth.edu/record=b6039147~S1