The Madrid Pavilion at the Thirty-first Guadalajara International Book Fair

by Helen Ladrón de Guevara Cox 

The Book Fair 

The largest Spanish language book fair in the world takes place in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico. Each year, the fair exhibits books and carries on its activities at Expo Guadalajara, the largest convention centre in Mexico, located in the southern part of the city. The structure has 119, 000 square metres of space.  (

From 25th November to December 2nd, 2017, people gathered to learn about new book titles, meet with writers and participate in a variety of academic conferences  related to the culture of the book, libraries, information, communication  and other related fields. The fair included recognition ceremonies for outstanding authors, librarians, book collectors, poets, journalists and related professionals and daily cultural events with live music, theatre, art exhibitions and other events provided  by the guest country. Attendance exceeded 814,800 people.

The most outstanding event at the Fair is the Opening Ceremony where the winner of the FIL Literary Prize in Romance Languages  (Premio FIL de Literatura  en Lenguas Romances) ( is recognized and receives the amount of US$100,000.  In 2017, the winner of the international competition was the French writer Emmanuel Carrère  (

The Madrid Pavilion at the thirty-first Guadalajara International Book Fair

The Madrid Pavilion

The thirty-first Guadalajara book fair in December 2017 featured the city of Madrid, Spain. The space highlighted in this blog is the Madrid Pavilion that resembled an amphitheatre. The pavilion was designed by the Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza ( and took the form of a tall cylinder painted black on the outside with an inscribed phrase that read: Ganarás la Luz (You will gain the Light). The slogan is the title of an outstanding work by the Spanish poet, León Felipe. León Felipe has been considered by scholars to be included in the generation of year 27. He left Spain in 1938 and began a voluntary exile in Mexico, where he died (

The interior of the pavilion displayed pure white bright light and presented a fabulous sight. The inside of the cylinder resembled a bullring with uprising bleachers and had several purposes. The primary one was for the Mexican audience to have an encounter with Spanish authors. It was also intended to provide a more relaxed atmosphere with book stacks to exhibit and sell books published in Spain and to present a more intimate space within the convention centre for book presentations and writers to speak about their literary work and more interestingly to hold debates that stimulated interaction with the public.

Inside the Madrid Pavilion.

Librarians attending the Book Fair noted a resemblance of the design to the Stockholm Public Library designed by Gunnar Asplund.

The Madrid Pavilion was an outstanding success for reading and enjoyment of books from Spain at the thirty-first Guadalajara International Book Fair.

Author details

Helen Ladrón de Guevara Cox is Chief Advisor, Grand Centre of Library and Information Services, New State of Jalisco Public Library, Mexico. Helen is a teacher, graduate and Master of History at the University of Guadalajara in Mexico. She received a master’s degree in library science from the State University of New York and was the founding director of the Jalisco Historical Archive, and the first woman director of the Institute of Libraries of the University of Guadalajara. A recent project has been the development of the master plan for the new public library of the state of Jalisco. In 2017, Helen was awarded the Jalisco Prize in the workplace. Helen is a corresponding member of the Standing Committee of the IFLA Library Buildings and Equipment Section.


Celebrating Stunning Canadian Urban Library Branches

by Barbara Clubb


Over the past decade, newly built and renovated public library branches have showcased great Canadian architects and their spectacular, innovative work. This blog draws attention to the stunning achievements in public library branches in Canada and highlights libraries in the following communities:

  • Brampton (Gore Meadows Community Centre and Library)
  • Calgary (Nose Hill branch)
  • Edmonton (Jasper Place branch)
  • Mississauga (Meadowvale Community Centre and Library)
  • Ottawa (Beaverbrook branch)
  • Toronto (Scarborough Civic Centre branch)
  • Vaughan (Civic Centre Resource Library) and,
  • Waterloo (John M. Harper branch).

The libraries feature striking design, excellent use of natural light, technological and physical adaptability, accessibility and flexibility, environmental sustainability and sensitivity to surroundings, both natural and cultural. The results have created remarkable points of pride in the eight communities. Technology is leveraged at every turn and includes self-check systems, maker-spaces, creative studios, wireless access, hot spot loans and more. Four branch libraries are inclusions in larger community facilities. Yet print has not been forgotten, and there are lots of books. Continue reading

Evolution not Extinction; Making the Case for Co-Locating Services in Multi-Use Buildings

By Ayub Khan


Ayub Khan
Ayub Khan

There is a widely held perception that British public libraries are in decline and that the proliferation of online services and continuing financial pressures are proving too much. Similarly, people think that new library buildings are rarer than giant pandas. Neither is in fact the case.

Media coverage over recent years has focused on closures and falling loan figures. Positives like the growth of virtual libraries and the diversification of physical services into new and exciting areas, such as computer coding, Lego clubs and high-tech Makerspaces seem to be less newsworthy. Big building projects in major conurbations tend to get plenty of media coverage but local library developments fail to attract the same attention.

It is frustrating to read and hear that public libraries have perhaps ‘had their day’ when the sector is vibrant. UK libraries receive 250.8 million visits a year, more than all cinemas, night clubs and professional sporting events. Continue reading

The Australian Library and Information Association Library (ALIA) Design Awards

by Janine Schmidt


The inaugural Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) Design Awards were presented in June 2017 at a one-day seminar celebrating Australian library design held at The Library at the Dock in Melbourne. The awards showcased the excellence of contemporary Australian libraries and paved the way for future reimagining of libraries. This posting describes the awards process, portrays some striking features of the buildings, demonstrates superb teamwork of librarians, architects, designers, planners and funding agencies in building new libraries and refurbishing old ones, and hopefully inspires and informs others.

Continue reading