An Underappreciated Community Treasure

By Jaci Winters

When I return to San Miguel de Allende each year, I head first to the Biblioteca to reacquaint myself with what is happening in the community and to indulge in a cappuccino in the Cafe. I volunteer at the library so I am interested to know what is happening and what if any changes have occurred in my absence. As Volunteer Director of Development I want to know what was accomplished during the past year so I can share this information with Biblioteca donors and the public.

The Biblioteca is the heart of San Miguel. Visitors come and go every day. Many come to borrow books, others for lectures, theatre productions and films, and some just come to sit in the Cafe or courtyard and enjoy the ambiance or have a bite to eat. I also see many people learning English or Spanish from each other in this congenial place. There are also many young Mexican students and children in the library, attending one of the many free education classes we offer or using the library books and computers to do their homework. Twice a year you will also see students and parents lined up to apply for one of the many Biblioteca scholarships we give for elementary, high school and university.

The Biblioteca is a very busy place but I wonder if people really understand the extent of the services the library offers to the public and that they manage to do this without any government funding. In 2011, 56,202 adults, 4796 young people and 6652 children used the library. The number of books people used inside the library was 52,666 from the general collection, with another 5508 by children. In addition, 30,628 books were borrowed from the library collections. The Biblioteca also sponsored 37 adult lectures, 44 student lectures and 52 children’s lectures in Spanish with an attendance of 2120. This past year we hosted 28 guided tours for 836 people to familiarize them with the library and its services. In addition, 2076 students used the library computers to do their homework or learn on line and 212 students attended computer courses that provided 20-30 hours of instruction each month.

These statistics speak for themselves and are reported to the State of Guanajuato library system but I guarantee that most of the library users and readers of Atencion have no idea of the breath of services the Biblioteca provides to the community every year for more than 30 years. With 60,000 books in Spanish and English the Biblioteca is the 2nd largest bi-lingual library in Mexico.

So now you know the facts, why not supporting the Biblioteca by buying a higher level of membership with additional benefits such as movies or making a donation for which you can receive a tax receipt (US, Mexican or Canadian). See the signs in the courtyard for Memberships and Donations or ask at reception. Its time to support this worthwhile institution and ensure its legacy.


High And Dry; Gardening With Cold-Hardy Dryland Plants By Robert Nold

Review by Kate McCorkle

After two months of looking at my black bugambilia, I am happy to say that the colors green and magenta have returned to my garden. Every time this happens I tell myself that I need to stick with plants that can take San Miguel’s fickle changes and tricky micro-climates. But won’t that be limiting? And which plants will work, since it seems that no single type of plant is foolproof?

Thanks to the generosity of the Garden Club Of San Miguel de Allende, La Biblioteca now has a book that provides generous answers to these questions. This 400-page book takes a serious look at high plains gardening, beginning with an analysis of drought and watering, planning and siting the garden, and advice for each season.

Although the author is most familiar with the Denver area, weather and altitude conditions there often mimic San Miguel. Not surprisingly, many of the most successful plants in his catalog are found here, often in identical form.  Each category of plant is accompanied by excellent full color photographs. Furthermore, Robert Nold is an engaging writer, a fellow gardener with deep knowledge and a real desire to communicate his observations. He ferrets out members of the various species that best suit our climate with a clarity and enthusiasm which will be much appreciated by readers.

This addition to our collection, which comes appropriately at Candelaria, can be found with the new arrivals on the blue dot shelves under 635.952 NOL.

Thanks again, Garden Club Of San Miguel de Allende!


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