In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Introduction
  • Kate Williams-McWorter (bio), Yohannis Martí-Lahera (bio), and Pedro Urra González (bio)

Welcome to Library Trends' first bilingual Spanish-English issue and the first devoted to work in Cuba. This experiment in academic publishing recognizes that new ways of thinking about research communication are in order.

The first point to make is that our subject in this issue, libraries and information systems of the Republic of Cuba, stands on one of the remarkable human feats of the twentieth century. This was the 1961 literacy campaign. Even while some counterrevolutionary holdouts were still shooting in the mountains, 100,000 high school students (and one as young as nine) signed up as literacy campaigners in response to the call from Fidel Castro. They devoted months to teaching people to read and write, while also helping with farm work and otherwise supporting the lives of the learners' families who hosted them. With schools closed for the campaign, another 100,000 teachers pitched in as well, not to mention the volunteers' families and many others. In that one year, a total of 707,212 people learned to read—roughly ten percent of the population. Each of them sent Fidel Castro the evidence—a handwritten thank-you letter—and the letters are bound and archived at the Museum of Literacy in Havana (UNESCO, Lorenzetto and Key, 1965; Williams and Samuel 2016).

No other literacy effort has been as sudden, as sweeping, or as successful. It transformed the new readers, the young teachers, and Cuba's political culture. It informed the Brazilian educational theorist who in turn influenced so many across the Western Hemisphere, Paolo Friere. It continues to engender similar campaigns across the world. And in Cuba it was followed by the "Battle for the 6th Grade" and eventually the establishment of articulated school and university systems across the island, a publishing [End Page 577] industry, and with all that, networks of public, academic, school, and special libraries.

Several publications in Cuba are dedicated to the topics of librarianship and information sciences and an important part of the national scientific production in these fields. These include Revista de la Biblioteca Nacional "José Martí" (Journal of the Jose Marti National Library), Revista Ciencias de la Información (Journal of Information Sciences, accessible at https://www.redalyc.org/revista.oa?id=1814), ALCANCE: la Revista Cubana de Información y Comunicación (Cuban Journal of Information and Communication, accessible at http://www.alcance.uh.cu), and Revista Cubana de Información en Ciencias de la Salud (Cuban Journal of Information in Health Science, originally identified as ACIMED, available at http://www.acimed.sld.cu).

While library and information science rode this tremendous educational wave, Cuba began to build its educational and professional infrastructure for the field in the 1930s, with its library association formally structured in 1980-81. Today formal campus-based programs are complemented by extension-type programs across the island. Undergraduate, certificate, and postgraduate qualifications can be earned at more than one university. Unlike in the US, students can also train specifically for the position of researcher on a library staff (Bella 2003). Two professional organizations are active: ASCUBI (Asociación Cubana de Bibliotecarios, or Association of Cuban Librarians) and SOCICT (Sociedad Cubana de Ciencias de la Información, or Cuban Society for Information Sciences).

Second, this issue of Library Trends acknowledges that even though for many it is a lingua franca, the English language is not and cannot be the sole language of science and scholarship. English is the first language of just 5 percent of humanity, Spanish of 6 percent. (Including native speakers and all others, English is spoken by 15 percent of humanity, the same as Chinese; Spanish is at 7 percent). When languages of very small and disempowered populations cease to be spoken, we know that knowledge is lost. All our languages are vehicles for our cultures, from which solutions emerge, and we need all of them. Humanity continues to suffer greatly from the egocentrism of diffusionist ideology, the idea that the entire world must rely on the centers of power and wealth for knowledge and sustainability. Since all human beings have equal capabilities, in fact the opposite...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-0682
Print ISSN
0024-2594
Pages
pp. 577-581
Launched on MUSE
2019-08-15
Open Access
No
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