CALEXICO — Imperial Valley College nursing student Alhi Ingle poured over books and papers while studying for school at the Camarena Memorial Library in Calexico on Tuesday.
She said she comes to study at the library weekly for the peace and quiet it offers.
Across the room, Silvia Ramos, 8, and her brother Leonardo Ramos, 7, played games on a computer.
Their mother, Jennifer Estrada, said she brings her children to the library after school at least twice a week.
“They’re more quiet here. They’re calm. They like it here,” she said while laughing. “They’re having fun, but quietly.”
Nearby, AARP representatives offering free tax aid to those with low and middle incomes sat around a table working with others at the library where they’ve been meeting for weeks.
Teenager Eric Romero, 17, roamed between bookshelves looking for material on labor rights activist Cesar Chavez for research. He said he also comes to the library weekly.
Nestled in the newly unveiled Family Place Library within the Calexico library, Paola Orozco sat reading book after book to her 4-year-old Alessandra Aguilar.
It’s National Libraries Week, and everywhere one turned Tuesday, people of all ages were exploring their own way to utilize the community resource.
“We celebrate National Libraries Week to highlight the importance of libraries in every community,” Calexico Community Services Director Sandra Tauler said. “We want people to know we’re here and have to offer a variety of services for all ages.”
The Camarena Memorial Library encouraged people to clear their record and get a new library card Monday, gave out free pens Tuesday and hosts a Family Place open house 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.
The pens given out Tuesday read, “Service is our business,” and Tauler said the staff “truly believes that and tries to be as helpful as possible, even if it’s directing someone to somewhere else for what they need.”
The library provides free materials for educational, recreational, cultural and informational needs. The library will be closed from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday for a staff appreciation day luncheon.
“I think they do amazing things,” Tauler said. “Especially during these hard times with a lot of cuts, we haven’t stopped providing a lot of services, and our staff was cut by more than 50 percent.”
The library staff has been reduced from 13 to five people over the past two years but has kept up as many programs as possible, including staffing the Calexico Carnegie Technology Center.
The library had roughly 101,000 visits, about 70,000 items checked out and hosted 380 programs in fiscal 2009-2010.
Tauler said many people still don’t realize all the free resources offered through the library to the community and invites people to visit the library’s Web site or stop by in person. Resources are available in English and Spanish.
Examples include free access to e-books online, homework tutoring, books clubs, story time and more.
“Everything is free. You get a free credit card to take brand new books home,” Tauler said while laughing. “One of my goals is to make it so nobody can say there’s nothing free to do in Calexico.”
Visit http://www.calexicolibrary.org or call 760-768-2170 for more information about the Camarena Memorial Library.
Staff Writer Chelcey Adami can be reached at 760-337-3452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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