Interview by Desislava Milusheva
Abstract: The Head Librarian of the Servantes Institute Library „Sergio Pitol“, Mr. Juan V. Labajos Jiménez was interviewed after his exchange visit to the New Bulgarian University Library. The Library of the Spanish Cultural Institute is named after the Mexican author Sergio Pitol, awarded Cervantes Prize in 2005. Library collections comprise books, films and music materials from Spanish and Latin American authors, reference and teaching materials for the acquisition of Spanish language. Titles in Catalan, Galician and Basque could be found within the Library holdings. The network of Servantes Institute Libraries gives access to a rich online collection of reference materials – directories, bibliographies, dictionaries, encylopaedias, news feeds, etc.
Could you share some challenging moments from your professional experience?
Challenging moments occur constantly because you have to be abreast of new technologies. Presence in most of the social networks is needed and services must be offered in a very attractive way.
What tempted you to choose the librarianship as a field of development?
I always wanted to have a job as a civil servant. I was also interested in the idea of providing accurate and useful information so that I can contribute to the improvement of our citizen’s general education.
Do you have a national strategy on e-book and e-documents? What is your acquisition policy of e-books and e-resources? Do you have traditions in shared acquisition and consortia deals?
There is no national strategy to acquire e-book or e-documents in Spain. The libraries belonging to the different government regions (Comunidades Autónomas) manage their budget independently as well as the universities and research centers do.
The headquarters in Madrid of Cervantes Institute, which has 60 libraries scattered throughout the world, has decided to purchase the e-books and the e-resources for all their libraries. The selection, cataloging and uploading of the different resources are performed in collaboration with the librarians from all different locations.
In Spain, the shared acquisition mainly works with journals and electronic resources between academic and special libraries. The remaining libraries rarely perform consortia deals.
How did you organize access to e-books and e-articles in Spain?
Access to e-books and e-articles is performed through various commercial platforms. In addition, many universities and research centers are uploading countless documents in their digital repositories that have free Internet access.
Do users can download permanent offline copies on their mobile devices or full text access is limited for a period of time?
In our case, it is possible to download both types of documents. Some licenses allow you to download a free copy and others only for a period of time.
May you point the most popular information services in Spanish libraries?
The most popular information service is „Pregunte: el bibliotecario responde” (Ask: the librarian answers) where you can make any type of query and it is answered by any professional of the public libraries reference services that exist in Spain.
Do you think that technological development made libraries go online and be open to their readers, or we can still work on improving library accessibility?
I think the idea that libraries should be open to their readers came before the development of new technologies in other areas of library work. Moreover, it is necessary to constantly improve accessibility in line with new technologies.
What is particularly relevant for Spanish library users?
Attractive services, ease of use and easy access.
Have you already any impressions from Bulgaria? Are there too many differences between Spain and Bulgaria, or they are quite alike?
In Spain all libraries are meeting places and place for study for their users more so than here in Bulgaria.