Our doors were closed for a lot longer than we ever imagined when the Covid-19 pandemic spread around the world. As an institution, we did our part in the overall effort to stem the spread of the virus in our community, while trying to maintain some form of normality within our walls.
We were able to maintain our payroll and keep our staff of over 40 employed in various functions behind closed doors. Working in teams in a closely monitored plan to maintain sanitary precautions, our staff has performed various tasks that are part of the normal routine and others that are more periodic but were done to take advantage of the unforeseen opportunity, such as:
Performing a complete book inventory and adjusting our records. We realized we had about 1,400 books on loan, 400 of which have now been returned by members using a new book deposit slot created by the staff. We would like to thank our members who were in town and helped with returning these books. We also hope that many will follow now that our doors are open and come pick up new titles and return any of the books checked out before the pandemic.
New books, both in Spanish and English, were purchased and a large private collection that was donated is being catalogued and will also be put on the shelves, along with the recent acquisitions.
The Spanish Book committee has been re-established with a group of knowledgeable volunteers to, in part, make recommendations to the staff in purchasing new books for the Spanish Collection.
Our spaces have been thoroughly cleaned and many have been freshly painted. We are devising a plan to ration and maximize the use of the rooms and space within La Biblioteca for our various activities.
An additional catwalk was installed in the theater. The theater staff and teachers produced a number of virtual performances that were transmitted through social media.
We renewed scholarships for the Fall semester for our high school and university students. With the help of a volunteer in our scholarship committee, support from the Rotary Club, and generous donors, we supplied 20 laptops to those of our students who didn’t have a computer accessible for remote learning.
Our main publication, Atención, was not printed for several months but we maintained an online presence that is now enriched by new web pages for Atención, as well as Qué Pasa. The print edition has been available since the second week of September.
We have hired new talent to help with our new media: a digital content editor and a social media coordinator.
We also hired a new business development manager to help lead and coordinate our fundraising efforts. As you can imagine, having been closed to the public for these many months, finances are currently a top priority. Our new fundraising manager is already busy working on grant applications.
The whole staff has been practicing sanitary protocols established by the government; they have all been trained by Protección Civil and are ready to welcome you back to La Biblioteca. Nobody knows when we will be back to normal operations but with the help of our staff and volunteers, as well as your understanding and support, you are now able to enjoy the services and participate in many of the activities of our institution.
We strongly believe that we may not have survived this extraordinary crisis without the loyal support of our community and in particular the bequests La Biblioteca received during this past year from the McCuspie and the Paveling estates, of an American and a Canadian who had spent many years in San Miguel and were devoted members of our library.
Lastly, we want to recognize our Executive Director, Miguel Ángel Barquet, and the incredibly dedicated staff and volunteers of our institution. They have been working behind the scenes for many months and are eager to welcome you back to your community library: La Biblioteca Pública de San Miguel De Allende.
Café Santa Ana