6 Quetions With Sonia Bautista, Acting Senior Librarian City of Commerce
FIL Guadalajara First Timer Perspective
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
by: Francisco Vargas

Section: News Articles

January 2013

Sonia Bautista is the Acting Senior Librarian for the City of Commerce Public Library and the Treasurer of the Chapter of Reforma, Los Angeles. She is an avid shopper and music buff follow her on Twitter @sbauti.

Q-What were your thoughts about going to (before the trip) Guadalajara Mexico for your first time as a librarian and what did you think FIL was going to be like?

A-Being my first time going to FIL, I asked many colleagues who had attended to tell me about it. Many told me the same thing, “It is huge!”, “bring comfortable shoes”, “It is bigger than ALA”, “you will never get to see it all”, “it gets crowded once they let the public in” and all of these turned out to be true. I had somewhat of an idea but I never realized how overwhelming it can be. In ALA, you have aisles and aisles of vendors of books, furniture, databases, etc. In FIL you have aisles and aisles of just books! On my first day, I only covered about 3 aisles and I knew I needed to speed up in order for me to see the rest of the fair and spend my budget.

Q-Many librarians are overwhelmed and others seem to just thrive in this type of fair.  What's your overall take on FIL as a first timer?

A-My overall take of the fair is that it is huge and you really need to plan out your day and the speed of how you purchase items. If possible for next year I would want someone else from my job to go because this would help out in choosing books and for writing down the info needed of the book for the purchasing agent. I was getting to a point where you feel ordering 4 to 6 copies of the same book just to finish your budget but I want to provide quality books to customers and this is why I would take time reviewing books and finding what customers actually request and want. There was a section where librarians had pre selected books but I found that not as useful because the books were from many different booths. In order to get the information of the book you had to visit the booth where the book was from. But overall I know what I need to do next year to have an even more successful visit at FIL.

Q-Strictly books what were the top 3 books you purchased?

A-The top three books I purchased were actually books patrons and staff told me to look out for.

Mickey by Martha Figueroa, 1001 Remedios Caseros (Selecciones)
and as many computer programming and software books I could find.

Q-Would you go back? Why or why not?

A- I would definitely go back. The advantage of buying books that you are able to see, feel, read, and hold is nothing compared to buying online.  I was able to view the quality of books and also read the language before deciding to purchase it.  I would however change how I would buy books. This time I had to write every single item, title, ISBN, price, vendor booth down and I think I wrote about 30 pages worth. It was really tiring because some books did not have the price so I had to keep asking the staff for help.

Q- If you had to pack your bags again what would you have included and left out?

A-There is nothing I would have left out but I would have included an extra bag. I needed an extra bag to bring souvenirs and many other items I found at the fair. Especially since Christmas is close, you definately want to do some Christmas shopping there!

Q-Tell us about one side trip (non-library related) experience?

A- A couple of librarians would meet at the hotel’s lobby after the fair was over and head out to a nearby town or to a tourist spot. My most memorable side trip was to Guadalajara’s Downtown. We visited the Palacio Municipal were we took tons of pictures and even snuck in to take pictures at the grand ballroom where only dignitaries and VIP people are allowed. The security guard told us that this is the room where the President of Mexico gives speeches and sits with other VIP guests. Of course we could not pass up such a photo op so a couple of us REFORMA members went up to the podium and pretended to give a speech and we also sat at the council chamber chairs. Someday we know we will be back as invited guests!

Thank you Sonia! You can connect with Sonia on LinkedIN also visit the library page for the Commerce Public Library.

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