10 November 10 | Chad W. Post

Just received this call for support of the Portuguese translation programs and thought some of you might be interested in knowing about this and/or signing the petition. It goes without saying that this sort of support is invaluable. Without organizations and programs like this, the publication of literature in translation would be in even worse shape than it already is. OK, off the soapbox . . . Here’s all the info:

The DGLB (General Directory to Books and Libraries) in Portugal will cease to exist as an independent entity and is to be integrated into the National Library of Portugal. The fate of its various support programmes for the Portuguese language has not yet been announced. Without such programmes, the Portuguese language, literature and culture will be of more difficult reach for many foreign publishers and readers all over the world.

We’d like to ask all of you to sign a petition in favour of the DGLB in order to put a stop to this development.
Below, you’ll find the English version of the petition which you can sign under the following link.

Thank you very much for your help and support.

It’s times like these when every voice can make a difference.

Yours sincerely,
Jordi Roca

English version of the petition
To: Dr. Gabriela Canavilhas

Minister of Culture, Portugal

We are aware of the Portuguese Government’s project to eliminate the DGLB (General Directorate for Books and Libraries) through a merger with the National Library of Portugal, thus depriving the indispensible autonomous management of an institution that has always successfully performed the difficult and meritorious mission of promoting reading in Portugal and disseminating Portuguese literature throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

We would like to emphasize that the DGLB is a highly regarded institution among its fellow culture-related entities in Europe and it is with great trepidation and concern that we are addressing you with the hope of preventing a measure that could have negative consequences on the international projection of the Portuguese language, literature and culture. The elimination of the DGLB would have a limiting impact on people such as editors, translators, educators, university researchers and students, and organizers of literary festivals and cultural events. Despite being far from Portugal, they have always put forth effort in the unending task of making the world aware of the vitality and richness of the Lusitanian idiom. It is undeniable that without the support of the DGLB, much of what has been accomplished up to now would not have been possible, but it is also evident that without this support, everything that is about to be done will only be able to be accomplished to a lesser extent and with a lower impact.

Given that purely cultural interests in times of economic crisis are not considered pertinent or a priority for those who govern, we would like to bring to your attention the positive repercussions that, in economic terms, a clear and proficient cultural policy can have. We feel, for example, that the novels published and translated abroad may have contributed much more to the country’s tourism industry than the advertising done in order to make potential tourists aware of Portugal’s attractions. How many Portuguese writers would have never made it into the libraries of Europe without the support of the DGLB? How many literary festivals and university conferences would have had to do without the presence of Portuguese poets, essayists and novelists?

Obviously, we are aware of the fact that due to the current economic situation, painful sacrifices are necessary in all sectors. We feel, however, that an economic crisis is not resolved through cultural impoverishment and we are convinced that the government has the duty to adopt more efficient measures than a simple, drastic and indiscriminate cut in public funding. The risk, in this case, is that an imprudent policy could make the country and its culture invisible.


The Undersigned

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