Between Santa Cruz and Cuba

Cuba photo

Between Santa Cruz and Cuba: A Library Cultural Exchange
McHenry Library
University of California, Santa Cruz
Summer 2000

From May 19th to 28th, 2000, 21 librarians, library workers, and students from California, Chicago, Massachusetts, and Seattle traveled to Cuba on a cultural/educational exchange with other librarians and library workers. The tour, facilitated by Global Exchange in San Francisco, was entitled Cuban Libraries: Creating Partnerships. The participants visited libraries, such as Jose Marti National Library, University of Havana Library, National Medical Library and Infomed Project, National Archives, Librarians Training School, and the Ruben Martinez Provincial Library and shared experiences, and mutual interests in preservation, reference, collection building, access, acquisition, cataloguing, Internet technology, and bibliographic instruction.

Sister library relationships were set up, cards were exchanged, and many books, serials, preservation materials, pens, paper, etc. were donated. The group also met with the Cuban Librarians Association, especially the President Marta Terry (former Head of the Jose Marti Library). Jacquelyn Marie, UCSC librarian, had made the original contact with Marta Terry who invited the group to her country. Visits were also made to the Women's Studies Department of the University of Havana, the Cuban Book Institute, the Casa de las Americas Bookstore, the old Havana community project, the La Vigia Publishing House, two medical clinics and various museums and music venues.

Jacquelyn Marie led the trip with a UC Berkeley colleague, Elizabeth Sibley; other participants from UCSC included Deborah Turner, Head of Access, Helen Lew Sam of Serials, and Andrea del Pinal, Women's Studies student.

This exhibit focused on the library cultural exchange delegation. It also included material from the UCSC Library's collection, as well as material from two other recent cultural exchange trips to Cuba: Ellen Farmer's Women Drummers International's 1998 trip, and Sarita Silverman's trip to Cuba in 1999, in which she brought Sephardic Jewish literature to Cuban Jewish communities.

The exhibit was curated by library staff members Wendy Lees and Irene Reti, with invaluable assistance from Jacquelyn Marie and Andrea del Pinal. We also wish to thank Jacquelyn Marie, Deborah Turner, Helen Sam, Andrea del Pinal, Dwight Frey, Ellen Farmer, and Sarita Silverman for lending us material for this exhibit. --Irene Reti and Wendy Lees

Cuba children photo
Cuba group photo