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“A Night at the Biblioteca” Aims to Preserve the Library’s Charitable Legacy

Abby and Linda Rosa

Al and Lyn Tanenhotlz, Dexter Kaulbach, Lynda Halpert and Shireley Kaulbach

Debra Broussard, Heriberta Torres and Gregory Diamant

By Jesús Aguado

The walls sheltering this Sanmiguelense community gathering point displayed color, chants, music, and good times last Thursday, all for a good cause—preserving La Biblioteca’s legacy of providing culture and knowledge to the community.

Since 1959, the library’s expansive building on Insurgentes 25 has brought not just books but classes, activities, and entertainment to San Miguel de Allende’s children and adults, to its native Mexican residents, and to the expats who live here. For decades it has been a space where people of all ages, cultures, and beliefs converge.

It has played host to community theatrical productions; movies; operas and choirs; and math, science, computer, art, and English classes, just to name a few. It’s where a child can learn to play piano or perhaps sculpt a dinosaur. It’s where scholarships have quite literally made dreams come true for young people who aspire to improve their neighborhood or their city.

The refurbishing and opening of the Insurgentes 25 building as a library in 1959—the library originally resided inside the home of the Canadian philanthropist and expat Sanmiguelense Helen Wale—was made possible through a special contract for nonprofits granted by the Mexican government known as the comodato.

As owners of the building, the federal government has a right to charge rent to anyone using the building, but under the comodato agreement with the government, the Mexican government agreed not to charge La Biblioteca rent as long as the library took responsibility for the building’s maintenance and bills. However, the comodato recently expired, and the federal government told the library that from now on it was changing its status and that the library must pay rent.

In order to meet this new unexpected expense and to continue affording the costs of all the educational, cultural, and art programs the library offers, volunteer Debra Broussard came up with the idea of putting on a party with cocktails, food, a silent art auction, and performances to raise money. She also saw it as a perfect opportunity to make the public aware of all the Biblioteca does for the community.

That community responded well to the library’s SOS and filled the building. Guests explored the library’s halls with margaritas and other cocktails in hand, pledging money to pay for library maintenance or needed supplies, signing up as volunteers or to teach a new class at the library, bidding on art donated by artists John Kerker and Bel-Jon—on display in the Café Santa Ana—or just enjoying mariachis, a classical harpist, and a guitarist while chatting with other supporters of the library.

Library officials report that the event raised, all of which is going straight to the library’s general fund to pay the rent.

La Biblioteca wishes to thank all the community who participated in this celebration as well all its volunteers, board members and employees who participated in the preparations. Until next year!

 

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