Of seven INFO meetings
since 1987, this was the first conducted in English and Spanish. This
meant that North Americans could participate in greater numbers. 31 people
attended from the US. ASCUBI -- the Cuban Librarians
Association -- hosted several discussions with the US librarians. These
portraits are of the ASCUBI members at the first of these meetings.
President Marta Terry introduced the topic of Cuban libraries. She
explained: Cuba has progressed through three stages with its libraries.
First, the librarians occupied themselves primarily with taking care of
the books. Later, the main work was to promote the library outside of the
library. Now the task is to work with the community, do the social and
cultural research to find out what are the community's needs that the
library can help with, and get to it.
With this in mind, ASCUBI members shared what they were working on in
At one library, they teamed up with local film school professors to
arrange for students to write and video short scripts.
Elsewhere librarians are reading books on the local radio station while
children in the listening audience draw. The pictures that are sent to the
library will be exhibited there.
One library's town is known as the "comics' nest" -- here librarians are
helping students gather oral histories to bring this historic reputation
Every municipal library has
its ASCUBI activist -- who promotes the activities of ASCUBI among
librarians. It costs one peso to join ASCUBI for one year.
One librarian has already written her experiences up and made a video. A
bigger push is coming to report what's working. The Internet is one place
to publish ideas and experiences. (ASCUBI got the international library
community -- IFLA -- its first listserv, back in the day.)
One of the library students
observed: all these projects are part of what Cubans call the battle of
ideas, a national project to refocus the revolution around new conditions
(like the Internet) and the energy of new generations.
To contact the Cuban Librarians
Association, email firstname.lastname@example.org