María Angélica Fuentes Martínez is a librarian at the Library of Congress in Chile and President of the Association of Librarians of Chile since 2020. Since 2019 he has also been an IFLA member for the Latin America and Caribbean section. He contributed in his work and with his activities to strengthening the figure of the librarian and defending the profession by creating links of cooperation between associations and libraries both locally and internationally. He actively participated in working groups in order to promote the role of the librarian. He is also coordinator of the area of digital resources at the Library of Congress of Chile.
Maria, to begin with, what does it mean to be a librarian in Chile? Is the profession recognised? What is the training and academic path to become a librarian?
It means a challenge and an opportunity from the social and political contribution that can be made in the communities, in addition, as president of the Chilean college of librarians, it means a responsibility to promote the professional and defend the professional exercise complex task in times where the identity of The offices are, in many cases, invaded by ignorance of the expertise of each professional area and knowledge. It is recognized to the extent that it is known, we find sectors of society that are unaware of the work we do, perhaps they know the “trade” without clarity at all. In this sense, we have to spread and publicize the profession. There are several universities that offer a professional career and a degree with a duration of 5 years, there are also technical institutes that offer this technical model and then you can continue professional academic training.
You work at the Library of Congress of Chile. Can you tell us briefly about this beautiful library?
The Library of the National Congress of Chile (BCN) was born in 1883 is a collective service and space for access to the common presence and virtual information of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies and Deputies, whose main mission is to support the parliamentary community in the exercise of its functions, together with it, promote links between the National Congress and the citizens, making available the bibliographic, documentary, legal and political history of the country. It has two physical headquarters, one in the capital of Chile, Santiago and the other in the city that is the headquarters of the national congress, Valparaiso.
How did you think the unfortunately dramatic experience of Covid in Chile influenced? What role did the digital support play?
The pandemic situation generated by the Covid revealed several situations that, although they were identified, worsened as restrictions and new ways of working and of interacting with the communities were established, it was a challenge to address new models of services or transform and adapt The existing ones, prepare ourselves to support our communities through contention and moderation and become a support in the areas that concern us, strengthen the relevance of the territories with their differences and approaches, in short it is a tremendous experience that invites us , even today, to take a look at our way of relating, valuing the environments and collectively building community. Apply resilience and make the crisis an opportunity.
You’re a IFLA-s member and this allows you to also have an international view of the world of libraries. According to your point of view, in what direction are we going? What is the future of libraries
The direction must be innovation and creativity, insertion in the communities and people to whom we owe ourselves, bringing information and knowledge closer to strengthening the networks of participation and work.
What would you recommend to a young student who one day wants to be a librarian?
I would recommend endless things and readings, but above all I would congratulate you, for accepting the challenge that being a librarian means, I would invite you to be a builder of a fairer and more equitable partner through this millennial trade that has brought culture closer, reading to the people.
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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