Libro Futuro

Open, free and transparent libraries. Mario Coffa interviews Andres Reinoso  

Intervista in italiano

Andres Reinoso is a Senior Librarian at the Bialet Maseé Library of the Argentine Ministry of Labor and Professor of Librarianship at IFTS13 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Active participant of his National Association, he has been the Vice President of the ACBJ (Civil Association of Law Librarians) during 2016-2019. He is the NPSIG Information Coordinator (IFLA) since 2017 and is a promoter of political impact actions of libraries in the LAC region through the collective movement “Bibliotecarios al Senado”.

To begin, tell us briefly what it means to be a librarian in your beautiful country, Argentina.

I believe that being a librarian in Argentina, in addition to being the most beautiful profession, is a challenge that involves constantly trying to show how valuable libraries are to our societies, especially to our authorities. In recent years we have been following Advocacy policies and we are developing a stronger social outlook. It is important to leave our safe place to reach out to the community. Fortunately in Argentina there is a strong National Association (ABGRA) that works to enhance our profession, and there are many very active Library Institutions, among which we can mention the Library of Congress. Movements like Bibliotecarios al Senado (Argentina) collaborated for the recent implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty in our copyright legislation. One of the most beautiful things about the profession is that we always have many challenges ahead of us, and the next few years will be no exception.

You are the Information Coordinator of IFLA’s New Professionals Special Interest Group. Where are we in terms of recognition of the librarian profession?

I think we are going through a very interesting time. In terms of recognition, it could not be said that we are where we want to be, but I think that for a few years we have definitely been walking the concrete path. Professional recognition comes hand in hand with our increasingly relevant participation in state policies. Advocacy actions, internet governance, the fight for exceptions to copyright laws or access to information policies, reducing the digital gap and giving meaningful access to information are some of the fields of battle that information professionals are giving today. From our New Professionals Special Interest Group we work a lot with one of IFLA’s strategic axes, connecting different professionals from around the world in a global network, promoting common projects and carrying out disruptive events. And we never stop to be amazed by the innovative projects that come from our colleagues around the world. We have made flashmobs, unconferences, cycling for libraries, librarian fashion show and in the last congress in Athens a library olympic games!

One of your articles in IFLA from 2018 titled “Libraries defend an internet that works for users”. In this regard, especially after the dramatic experience of Covid 19, how is the digital revolution in libraries proceeding? Can social media, tools and digital platforms that we have learned to use “out of necessity” finally consolidate alongside traditional library services and help improve our service to users?

If there is something that this pandemic will teach us, it is that no one is saved alone, and I believe that it is our duty to promote this learning. The axis of the digital revolution from the Libraries must start from social inclusion, from thinking about the need for information of the other. Although we have learned to handle many IT tools that we will be able to use in the future, the connectivity gap that exists in the world has also become visible, and there we will have to work to reduce this inequality. The commitment of our national Associations to Internet Governance and inclusion policies will be key. And I believe that libraries should be protagonists in this!

“Libraries will change the world”. Do you think it is possible? And how can librarians play their part in this great project?

Honestly, the phrase “Change the world” sounds a bit forced to me. If one delves into it, we end up oscillating if this is simply impossible or if each of our actions changes the world. What I am deeply convinced of is that Libraries can positively modify their communities, mainly as guarantors of their rights. And making this commitment is a lot. In 2017 Gloria Perez Salmerón offered us the motto “Engines for change” (Coincidentally, that motto came up in a Congress in Buenos Aires!) This motto has to do with strong, connected libraries with deep political influence. From that moment on, I am convinced that librarians participate actively and united for a more just world. And a better world should definitely be full of libraries!

Considering also your involvement in this project, the Library World Tour, how useful do you think it is to create a network even beyond your own borders? In a heterogeneous world, what can the librarian’s work all over the world have in common?

I think this type of project is great and I admire you for your energy and your innovation. This type of project is what we support from NPSIG and we also have a map of new professional associations in the world. Connecting is one of IFLA’s strategic axes, and it is also one of the main competencies of an information professional. Weaving cooperation networks always enriches you, makes you grow, mobilizes you, empowers you and even surprises you. Listening to the other and knowing other realities helps to understand our own reality, and many great ideas can be shared and applied to solve our problems.

Mario dreams of being a librarian one day. What would you recommend him?

I always tell my students that there are competencies that are acquired through professional training, and skills that each person brings from their personal history. I have met many librarians from all over the world and they tend to have very similar characteristics:

  • They are supportive
  • They are creative
  • They are empathetic
  • They have a vocation for service
  • He is a very curious human being who loves to acquire knowledge

If Mario identifies with many of these characteristics, I think he is well on his way to becoming a great librarian, so I would recommend that he never stop training, that he prepare to face future technological changes and that he never stop having the open minded!



Mario Coffa
Mario Coffa
Mario Coffa archivista e bibliotecario, laureato in Conservazione dei Beni Culturali presso l’Università degli Studi di Perugia (2005) e diplomato in Archivistica e Paleografia presso la Scuola di Archivistica dell’Archivio Segreto Vaticano (2010). Dal 2010 Lavora per CAeB (Cooperativa Archivistica e Bibliotecaria) presso le biblioteche dell’Università di Perugia come bibliotecario e come archivista presso l'Archivio Storico del Comune di Gubbio. Si occupa di Biblioteche Digitali e formazione in ambito di biblioteconomia digitale. Nel 2014 membro del Comitato Esecutivo Regionale dell’Associazione Italiana Biblioteche (AIB) sezione Umbria, membro del gruppo AIB sul portfolio professionale e nel triennio 2017-2020 Presidente eletto di AIB Umbria. Dal 2020 membro dell'Osservatorio Formazione dell'Associazione Italiana Biblioteche. Autore di diversi articoli e interviste per Insula Europea sul tema degli archivi, delle biblioteche e del digital lending.


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