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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Merida English Library asks for donations to continue operating

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The Mérida English Library, on Calle 53, Centro. Photo: Lee Steele

The Merida English Library, a prominent gathering place for foreign-born residents since the 1990s, is urgently raising funds to continue operations.

“As COVID-19 continues to spread, the future has never felt so unpredictable,” the nonprofit’s president writes in a message to members. “Right now, we’re doing everything possible to sustain daily operations and provide services to our community.”

Budget cutbacks and staff reductions have not eased the pain of a community-based center stripped of its ability to raise funds through in-person events. In a normal year, MEL would have a number of activities — Conversaciones Con Amigos for example — that engage members and present opportunities to raise money.

Its 15,000 books are just the beginning for visitors. Many friends first met at their Friday-evening socials and encountered artists through annual studio tours. Weekly house-and-garden tours and its lecture series were also a mainstay, but virtual events have not made up for lost revenue.

“A year and three months into the pandemic, we are now spending down our reserves and need additional funds to prevent staff layoffs and maintain the library until we are allowed to resume normal operations,” the president, Greg Casini, continues.

The library has a goal of raising 150,000 pesos “to see us through the end of the year.” Board members pledged 60,000 pesos, so the community is being asked to find the 90,000-peso balance (about US$4,500).

Contributions are being made through a “donate” button on the MEL website, or by bank transfer to Merida English Library A.C., Intercam Banco, CLABE 136910039951300169.

Cash donations are also accepted at MEL during library hours, Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Contact Arantxa, MEL’s administrator, at info@meridaenglishlibrary.com for questions.

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