This is a guest post by Catalina Gomez, a reference librarian in the Hispanic Division.
The Library of Congress is observing National Hispanic Heritage Month this year with an array of on-site concerts, exhibits, lectures and more.
But we also have exciting digital offerings for those of you who can’t visit us in person. We’ve just added 50 new recordings to our Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape, and we’ve improved the interface for another popular online resource: the Handbook of Latin American Studies.
The Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape is a collection of nearly 700 audio recordings of U.S. Hispanic poets and prose writers and writers from Spain, Portugal and Latin America reading from their own works. Started at the Library of Congress in 1943, the collection includes recordings of prominent literary figures like Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez, Gabriela Mistral, Pablo Neruda and former U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera.
The Handbook of Latin American Studies is an annotated bibliography about Latin America produced in the Hispanic Division in collaboration with a network of scholars and the University of Texas Press. It includes information about recent books, journal articles and book chapters—as one might expect—and also annotated citations and links to recent webcasts, podcasts, videos, blog posts and web sites with relevant information for students, scholars or anyone with an interest in Latin America. The new interface for the handbook offers an enhanced user experience through visually appealing graphics and mobile and tablet-friendly access.
For those of you who will be visiting Washington this fall, the Library has on view a special collections display detailing the creation of National Hispanic Heritage Month. The display, located on the second floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building’s Great Hall, showcases a diverse selection of items, including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s autobiography, photographs from the Veterans History Project and letters from Latino congressmen celebrating the importance of National Hispanic Heritage Month. It will be up until November 11, 2017.
In addition, the Library’s Hispanic Reading Room offers services that make the Library of Congress a hub for researchers interested in Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain, Portugal and the Hispanic community in the United States. Please consider stopping by!
Dating back to 1968, National Hispanic Heritage Month was first designated as a week in September by President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1988, the observance was extended to a month, starting on September 15 and going through October 15. Why September 15 to October 15? Those dates coincide with the celebration of several Latin American independence days: Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua all celebrate their independence from Spain each year some time between those dates.