Thursday, July 19, 2012

New Mexico "Miracle" Library on the Chopping Block

But first, a little background information.

Voter fraud allegations in mayoral election rock New Mexico city. (Fox News, 2/17/2012)

Excerpt:   There is perhaps no other city in the country like Sunland Park, N.M.  The dusty border town minutes from El Paso, Texas, has been called "a city in chaos" by the state auditor, because a slew of public officials are facing felony charges that they ran City Hall like a personal piggy bank, tried to steal an election in order to remain in power and ruled the 14,000 residents through intimidation and fear.

4 charged in Sunland Park election fraud investigation. (Las Cruces Sun-News, 7/14/2012)

Sunland Park looks to slash budget, eliminate library. (KFOX 14, 7/18/2012)

Excerpt: In front of a standing-room-only audience, Wednesday night, the city council considered raising property taxes, eliminating certain city jobs, eliminating the garbage truck and closing the city's only library. The meeting was so packed, many residents had to sit outside, where the meeting was broadcast over speakers. 

Around, twenty children stood outside the meeting, holding signs, pleading with the city council not to close their library. 

"We get to play on the computers and do our homework," said 13-year-old Damien Telles. 

Like many residents in Sunland Park, Telles does not have a computer at home. He and other children depend on the library for Internet access and a place to do their school assignments.

Future uncertain for Sunland Park's 'miracle' library. (Las Cruces Sun-News, 7/18/2012)

Excerpt:  The library was created in 2000 through a cooperation from then-Doña Ana Branch Community College - now Doña Ana Community College - Thomas Branigan Memorial Library and Sunland Park, said Norice Lee, a librarian who was involved with the effort. 

The group overcame various challenges to establish the facility, Lee said. When the pieces fell into place bit by bit and donations sometimes came out of nowhere, organizers began to think of the library as somewhat of a "milagro," or "miracle" in Spanish, she said. Their aim was to promote education in the under-served border region, she said. 

"We're talking about a population where there is low literacy and people need access to information, primarily for job applications," she said. Lee, a board member of the nonprofit New Mexico Library Association and a member of the American Library Association, said she plans to attend Wednesday's meeting to advocate in support of the facility. She said she understands that the city is facing budget problems, but a library's value to the community should be considered.

No municipal or library website, apparently, but I did find this.

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