Women print shop owners have existed for much longer than most people realize; the first examples in Mexico date to the seventeenth century. Unfortunately, these texts are not always clearly described in a way that is findable beyond searching “viuda de.” Though many title-pages describe their businesses in terms of being a widow of their husband, these business owners deserve credit for their entrepreneurial efforts and should be findable in their own right. This poster would highlight the strategies and steps taken by a Hispanic Studies Librarian and a Rare Books Librarian to better promote these types of works held at a large research institution within a legacy collection conceived to promote the study of Mexican culture. Efforts to elevate the role of working women in this time period through decolonial practices, such as identifying them by their actual names and adding contextual notes, required collaboration with several different library departments. This journey will be presented through an exploration of approaches taken to enhance metadata, broaden access through selective digitization, and better encourage research use of the materials.

This case study would impact the larger library community by making fellow librarians more aware of the women-produced books that may already be held in their collections as well as how they can be easily highlighted for use by researchers of all types, regardless of language ability or prior knowledge.

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Poster presentation for the Women and Gender Studies Section (WGSS) given at the American Library Association Annual Conference, held remotely, June 2021