On How Tom Thumb Became a Giant
By Tania Noriz
When Helen Wale had the idea of creating a library for the children of San Miguel de Allende, she never imagined that her project would became a reality; much less, that it would continue to serve the community 61 years later.
Without a doubt, the magic of La Biblioteca has always been in its people. All volunteers in the beginning, they worked hard to implement the project; whether it was to get 1,000 pesos to buy three little chairs from Artes de México so that the children could sit and read, or to translate 200 books and magazines from English to Spanish because buying them in another language at that time was expensive and complicated. In addition, there were new ideas about how to get more resources to fund the projects the Board of Directors had in mind.
That is why the publication This Week in San Miguel came into existence on Friday, May 30, 1975. The paper consisted of eight pages; four in Spanish and four in English. Published by La Biblioteca Pública under the direction of Dar Sims, with editors Constance Moore and Guadalupe H. de Ramírez, the paper’s price was two pesos.
This Week in San Miguel printed community, art, and wellness articles, as well as tips on how to buy at the mercado and suggestions on how to take care of a home garden. In the section “Upcoming Events,” religious and popular celebrations taking place during the week were listed. Along with other articles, the most recent news about La Biblioteca was provided.
The weekly soon grew, and from the second issue, the first display ads began to appear in its pages, along with special articles written by external contributors such as Stirling Dickinson, classified ads, and a Letters to the Editor section. When trying to follow legal procedures for the new publication, the Board of Directors learned that the name This Week in San Miguel was already registered. This is how Atención San Miguel came into existence for the first time on Friday, August 22, 1975. For 40 years, Atención has been published each week, thanks to the labor and contributions of many great personalities who have created a publication that is up-to-date and a unique product committed to its readers and customers.
And so for me it is a pleasure to say, in the words of “a modest lady who preferred to remain anonymous” who wrote the article “From Helen’s Library to Biblioteca Pública” in the issue of July 18, 1975, this was how our “Tom Thumb” became a giant.
To celebrate the appearance of the first cover of This Week in San Miguel, we are reprinting here the first story as it was published 40 years ago.
On the last day of This Week in San Miguel, 21 classified ads and 19 display ads were published. The staff was unpaid and the newspaper was compiled by the volunteers: Evelyn Green, Acting Editor; Beatrice L. Cole, Jenifer Hyde, Gael Gibne, and Anne Levine, Associate Editors; Philip Maher, William Moore, James Mullen, Francis Brodigan Sam Grossbart, and Carl Saxe, business managers.
This Week in San Miguel was printed by Imprentas San Miguel on Cuadrante 24 and was distributed in Posada San Francisco, Banco del Centro, Colibrí, Supertienda Sánchez González, Gefer, Artes de Tequis, Don Emilio, La Botica, Mesón de San Antonio, Carrusel, Vista Hermosa, Instituto Allende, Ermita, Parador, Atascadero, and Posada Carmina.
First time that…
May 30, 1975: This Week in San Miguel is published.
June 6, 1975: La Biblioteca appears as the publisher for This Week in San Miguel and that the first article by an external contributor is published: “In Memorium of José Mojica” by Carol Sánchez. An article about the 24 Hour Association was also published.
June 13, 1975: Classified ads are published.
July 18, 1975: “Letters to the Editor” are published, along with the first article about Audubon and the article “From Helen’s Library to Biblioteca Pública,” which tells the story of La Biblioteca.
July 25, 1975: A complaint letter was received. Someone forgot to cover the performance by the Ballet Folclórico Juvenil de Celaya in Teatro Ángela Peralta.
August 1, 1975: A letter about crime in San Miguel is published. A woman was walking along with a friend near Tenerías at 8:30pm, when somebody stole her purse. She suggests carrying a small canister of hair spray or a noisemaker.
August 15, 1975: It was published that This Week in San Miguel will become Atención, which means “the same in English and Spanish.”
Editorial for This Week in San Miguel
by Constance Moore
With gratitude, joy and hope we present the first issue of This Week in San Miguel.
Gratitude…to all the people who have said “We need it…here’s my subscription…how can I help…may I advertise? (And the answer to that is YES. You will find elsewhere a schedule of advertising rate donations, which will be used for the benefit of the Biblioteca—and you may specify as to whether you wish your donations used for books, scholarship, painting or literacy classes—or wish the matter left to the discretion of the Biblioteca Board of Directors.)
Joy…In a world where so many of us feel so helpless and so doubtful of the worth of our contribution, it’s wonderful to be involved in a project which appears to be so needed.
Hope… that these pages will be not only of practical, every day helpfulness…but that also in some small way they may engender a new spirit of communication and cooperation among the residents of this lovely town. Dream número uno is that the beautiful Ángela Peralta theater will be again open on a regular basis, to bring us not only delightful productions of local talent such as the recent Pirates of Penzance, but also the splendid and exceptional professional talent we were so privileged to enjoy during the past few years under the guidance of the Asociación Cultural de San Miguel. May that type of superb entertainment and flourishing, bustling Ángela Peralta, be the pride and pleasure of San Miguel once again…and may it be soon.