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The world is shrinking. High-speed Internet connections and social media make it possible to communicate across the world with an immediacy and consistency that was unthinkable (or at least unaffordable) in the very recent future. Global citizens are seeking out work and opportunities wherever they present themselves, crossing seas and cultures, often facing great challenges along the way. And each of those citizens – in virtual or physical form, speaking one or many languages, hailing from far-flung and nearby cultures – deserves equal access to the information he or she needs.
And as the world shrinks, the horizons of each and every information professional must expand. Gone are the days when a librarian could expect to work in a monolingual, monocultural, monolithic environment, in a community where the same types of people have the same needs as those who walked in the day or year or decade before. Dominican GSLIS students are learning to curate and create information across the spectrum of human records from local to global contexts. They’re being challenged to step outside their comfort zones to prepare themselves to work effectively across languages and cultures. And they’re doing so both in the classroom – through courses like International Librarianship and Organizational and Multicultural Organization – and in the real world, sometimes on the other side of it.
Our travel-based experiential courses allow students to experience multicultural, multiethnic and multilingual communities and resources first-hand. Two travel courses are offered annually: LIS 796 Guadalajara International Book Fair each fall, and LIS 796 Bologna Children’s Book Fair each spring.
Guadalajara International Book Fair
Held annually in late November and early December, the Guadalajara International Book Fair (or the Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara) is the second biggest book fair in the world, in terms of publishers and attendees, and the biggest in Latin America. Our popular LIS 796 travel course, taught by former ALA president John W. Berry, gives degree-seeking GSLIS students and students-at-large alike the chance to immerse themselves in what The Guardian called “the London book fair meets an Amazon warehouse, with thousands of schoolchildren thrown into the mix.”
Attending the “professional-only” days of the fair, students have the opportunity to learn more about international publishing, from acquisition to translation; consider issues of cultural diversity and expression in literature; and look at the newest and best Spanish language materials from around the world. Library and cultural site visits in the Guadalajara area include a trip to the Jalisco State Public Library, the famous Orozco murals and frescos at the Jalisco Government Palace and Hospicio Cabañas, and an afternoon at the nearby city of Tlaquepaque, famous for its arts and crafts. Students also participate in a portion of the Annual Symposium on Libraries and Librarianship hosted by the University of Guadalajara.
Financial assistance is typically available for the 3-credit hour course through the American Library Association-Guadalajara International Book Fair "Free Pass" program.
Bologna Children’s Book Fair
The Bologna Children’s Book Fair (or La fiera del libro per ragazzi) has, since 1963, been a meeting place for professionals across the children’s literature world: authors, editors and agents; translators, tech developers, and film and TV producers; librarians, booksellers and teachers. It’s the biggest international trade show of its kind and was the destination for Dominican GSLIS’s first travel course. Former Butler Children’s Literature Center curator Thom Barthelmess has taught the course since its inception, helping students to understand how the international wheeling and dealing within the convention hall leads to an end product that eventually makes its way to examination centers like the Butler Center.
Students explore what children’s literature looks like around the world, visit with hundreds of children’s book publishers from more than 60 countries, and consider the intricacies of the global children’s publishing marketplace. They also visit cultural attractions of interest to librarians, and have the unique opportunity to bond with their peers and future colleagues thousands of miles from the nearest Dominican classroom. The 3-credit hour course is a perennial hot ticket at Dominican GSLIS, filling up as soon as the spring schedule is posted.