Open Journal Systems

Chiles Binational Center Library


Abstract


This paper describes the facilities and services of the United States Information Service (USIS) Binational Center (BNC) Library, established in 1941 in Santiago. The BNCs are autonomous institutions governed by boards of local citizens and employing local staff. There are BNCs in 17 Latin American countries. They often function as local public libraries, presenting a useful model of American library practice. The Santiago BNC has taken a diverse leadership role in Chilean librarianship; it was the first library, for example, to have open stacks, closed circuit TV and radio, and microforms. It now offers to users a wide range of new technology, such as CDROMs and online databases. The BNC operates a unique reference service, available in person or by phone to anyone in the country. Resource sharing is another important activity of the Center. One of the authors of the article was an American Library Association Library/Book Fellow at the BNC for seven months; her work in library continuing education is summarized. The Centers plans for the next several years are outlined.

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