Publications: REFORMA Newsletter

Since 1974, the REFORMA Newsletter has provided information resources for librarians working with Spanish-speaking library communities and libraries. Of course, older issues are still information rich for current and future readers.

Read on to learn more about the early art and history of REFORMA Newsletter!

Although the REFORMA Archives are found at the University of California at Santa Barbara California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA) in the Chicano and Latino Collections, we just could not resist the chance to talk about the A.L.A. Archives’ holdings pertaining to REFORMA–namely, the fantastic REFORMA Newsletter–and you can view these early historical issues at your next A.L.A. Archives visit.

Reforma is the National Association to Promote Library Services to the Spanish Speaking, and it is an A.L.A. affiliate too, which provides financial resources as well as mentoring for individuals connected with libraries for the Spanish speaking.

The first two years of REFORMA Newsletter were bi-monthly publications including nationwide library job vacancies, news items, and messages from the president. When issues coincided with conferences, then conference schedules were published on the front page. When issues did not coincide with conferences, then the front page featured a message from the president. By the second year, the front page masthead would be changed multiple times, preceding another layout change in the near future. Also, the REFORMA voting ballots could be found on the last page of their corresponding publication issue.

A research tip: historic newsletters are often convenient resources for identifying key organizational members and their titles.

In 1978, REFORMA Newsletter was rebooted as a quarterly publication, resulting in the January-March issue becoming Volume 1 Number 1, and with Arnulfo D. Trejo listed as Editor. At this time, new issues featured messages from the editor on the front cover, responding to current issues facing Spanish-speaking library communities and librarians. Chapter news announcements had increased too.

A research tip: newsletters can be rich with additional unadvertised information. For example, the 1979 Volume 1, Number 4 issue of REFORMA Newsletter includes detailed biographical information on fifteen participants of the federally funded 1978 Graduate Library Institute for Spanish-Speaking Americans (GLISA) at the University of Arizona. Such treasure troves can help researchers find information about historic programs and individuals who may be underrepresented in archives, libraries, and current published histories.

In 1980, Luis Herrera, of the El Paso Public Library, became editor, and REFORMA Newsletter‘s layout would change significantly. The masthead script and logo changed, as well as the paper source would no longer be white but yellow, pink, or orange. The newsletter was rebooted again and the 1980 publication year was labeled Volume 1. By this time, the publication had grown from a few page newsletter to a heavier multi-page information resource.

In 1983, Al Milo, of the California State University at Fullerton’s Chicano Resource Center, became editor, and multiple layout changes followed in short time too. In particular, by the time of Al Milo’s editorship, REFORMA Newsletter had grown in size to a twenty-page publication, and for the first time two-column layouts were used to fit in so much information for librarians. In fact, one issue in 1984 experimented with a book layout, to keep the page count low but the information count high for members. By 1985, the masthead changed to include a new logo for the publication and for the first time advertisements first appeared. At that time, for a short time, the multi-column layouts were replaced with the earlier full-page layouts and the newsletters had returned to heavier twenty-page publications. At least as early as 1985, a separate JOBLINE issue was produced to shared recent job listings for REFORMA members.

By 1987, Ingrid Betancourt had become editor, and the layout would change in addition to many new publication features. For the first time, black-and-white photographs were reproduced in issues, and a variety of font types were used too. The reorganized publication was printed on heavier paper, using multi-column layouts, and it continued to grow beyond twenty-pages per issue. A new feature included space for letters to editor to be printed regularly, while another feature “People in the News” included brief announcements about REFORMA members. Also at this time, advertisement space had significantly increased to include a great variety of businesses serving libraries for the Spanish-speaking.

At this time, the A.L.A. Archives’ holdings for the REFORMA Newsletter do not continue past 1987. Of course, REFORMA and the newsletter have continued strong and you can reach them at A.L.A. conferences too.

Copies Available at Your ALA Archives

Physical copies REFORMA Newsletter are available for viewing at the ALA Archives; however, not all copies are available yet. Please view the Record Series 85/4/40, for information on which issues you can view or donate.

Also, please be sure to contact and visit the REFORMA Archives at the University of California at Santa Barbara California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA) in the Chicano and Latino Collections!

Got Something to Donate to the Story So Far?

There are so many great librarians doing so many great things and even the A.L.A. Archives can’t always keep-up with everyone all of the time. Not all librarians save the records of their careers and this makes preserving the heritage of Spanish speaking librarians and Spanish speaking library communities difficult to document. Are you (or somebody you know) a member of REFORMA? We welcome you to share your part of ALA and library history in the comments or to contact us. We and our readers would like to hear from you.