Our Online Audio Archives Find New Audiences

The following is a guest post by Catalina Gómez, reference librarian in the Library’s Hispanic Division.

Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986). lccn.loc.gov/95514627

Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986). lccn.loc.gov/95514627

It’s extremely gratifying to learn that the public is taking advantage of and using the cultural treasures that we work hard to make available digitally here at the Library of Congress. Making a unique photo or a rare recording available doesn’t mean much, of course, unless the word is spread, unless people tell their friends, unless teachers tell students or other teachers, or unless a curious someone finds the resource, clicks on it, and engages with it! The internet is full of potential for knowledge cultivation and cultural marveling, as well as for sharing content widely; so it is incredibly exciting when, with time, these waves of knowledge and appreciation keep expanding.

This recent article posted on Remezcla (a site dedicated to emerging Latin culture) featuring our recently launched Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape (AHLOT) online is a great example. Since its inception we’ve felt very proud of this project, which makes the valuable and historic recordings in this great Library of Congress collection available to everyone with an internet connection, and we rejoice in knowing that more and more people are engaging with this content.

Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957)

Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957)

The AHLOT is a one-of-a-kind collection of audio recordings featuring prominent Hispanic authors and poets reading from their work, curated here at the Library of Congress since 1943. Jorge Luis Borges recorded for this archive, along with Nobel laureates Gabriel García Márquez, Pablo Neruda, and Gabriela Mistral. To date, writers from 32 countries are represented in this collection, which includes readings in Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, French, Náhuatl, Zapotec, Aymara, English, and Dutch.

This archive is a rare cultural gem. We hope that it continues to reach many, especially those individuals who will find pieces of themselves, pieces of their cultural heritage and roots in the words of these great poets and writers whom we’ve had the privilege to record here in the Library during the past 75 years.

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