‘Want a good beach book? Do you have a question that has you stymied or has your computer fizzled out and you need to check your email… There’s a one-stop place in Merida where all this can be taken care of…
The Merida English Language Library (MELL) is the international community’s “Command Central.” Modeled after the traditional neighborhood libraries, it’s where many newcomers to Merida meet their first friends, and those who have been here for a while are able to keep up with what’s going on in our community. It has an informal and relaxed atmosphere, very much in keeping with the tempo of the city we live in.
MELL has a collection of 17,000 volumes, ranging from bestselling novels to research tomes on Maya History. The reading room and the internet are two well-used services at the library. Newspapers and magazines, DVDs and audio books are some of the other story formats MELL provides.
Once a month, the volunteers host “MELLO Nights,” a cash bar cocktail party where many of us have begun excellent friendships. Several English-language AA meetings are held at the library each week. Other groups such as very popular Book Group and the newly formed Writers’ Circle also use the library as their meeting place.
The Library is staffed by dedicated volunteers and supported by low annual membership dues. Fund raising events like the Chili Cook Off are held to raise funds. It takes a lot of selfless effort to keep the library afloat… and sometimes even that is not enough.
All individuals and organizations are targets for foul play, and apparently, MELL has been victimized by an opportunist. Library Operations Committee member Lorna Gail Dalin has offered to be on hand every Friday morning to speak with concerned members about this.
Yes, our library is in a jam. It seems there is no longer the cash reserve that was thought to exist. All concerned are working hard to resolve the predicament. It is in our best interest to not lend ourselves to rumor or hearsay.
MELL needs an influx of money to carry on and to do the upgrading and improvements it has planned. It seems to me that bemoaning our fate is not the solution – pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps (or sandal straps) is the more effective move. The season of giving is right around the corner. At this time of year, many organizations appeal to their friends for donations. Lorna Gail tells me that if every member could find it in their hearts to give 500 pesos, the problem would be resolved… Jorge and I will be taking our contribution over to MELL, and I hope there will be many others who do likewise.