The COVID-19 Pandemic is hurting libraries and library workers. Cities are responding by furloughing workers which will have long-lasting effects on our communities. Friends of the Library groups in El Paso have joined together to show solidarity in support of libraries and library workers. This series will feature voices from community members who believe Libraries are essential and must be reopened and supported. Here is our first article.
I Need My Lifeline
By Eva Ross, El Paso, Texas
I’m an El Paso native, aged 73, who in the summer after 4th grade read almost every biography in the children’s section of the downtown public library. I researched high school essays in the basement of the downtown library. I hold critical librarians like Mary Stanton, Elizabeth Kelly and Mary Sarber in the highest esteem. The library was a meeting space for my local Girl Scout Council and civic groups of every stripe to discuss any issue freely.
I borrowed records, tapes, and videos as a young married couple. I took my only son to the library story hour to escape our tiny apartment. I took home flyers about citizenship, and budgeting, ways to find jobs.
I learned about El Paso’s culture and development going through rolls of microfilm available only there. I’ve felt with my very own fingers the linen drawings by Trost of Loretto Academy when librarians pulled them from the Borderlands vault.
The libraries of our city are as essential to me as the water tanks that signal the eastward expansion of El Paso. Having the libraries unavailable to every resident of El Paso intellectually is the equivalent of I-10 being totally flooded.
I want literacy for all. I want citizenship resources for all. I want homeless folks able to come in out of the heat. I want Teen Town. I want the bookmobile on the outskirts of the city. I want the mayor and city council to immediately find ways provide greater access this lifeline.
If you want to contribute an essay to this series, email us your article at firstname.lastname@example.org
Curbside Pick Up at your El Paso Public Libraries
Books may be reserved at elpasolibrary.org or by calling the numbers for each library
Available from 10 am – 6 pm at:
Richard Burges Regional Library (915 212-0317) on Mondays and Thursdays
Esperanza Moreno Regional Library (915 212-0442) on Tuesdays and Thursdays
Dorris Van Doren Regional Library (915 212-0440) on Wednesdays and Fridays
The Bookmobile (915 212-0600) will distribute pre-ordered books
from 2 pm to 7 pm at:
Armijo Branch Library on Tuesdays
Clardy Fox Branch Library on Wednesdays
Sergio Troncoso Library on Thursdays
Judge Marquez Lower Valley Library on Saturdays 11 am- 4 pm
Books may be returned every Friday from 10 am to 6 pm at Richard Burges, Esperanza Moreno, Dorris Van Doren, and Main Library book drops. Books may also be returned to the Bookmobile.
Eva I agree completely with you. You may remember that in April the city announced that 400 city employees were being furloughed. Just last week I received a response to my ORR asking for a roster of the furloughed employees and what plan is in place to bring them back to work. From the announced 400 I received a list of 156. The city stated there is no plan to bring the employees back to work.
Of the 156 employees, 7 resigned and 8 have been reinstated.
I agree with Eva Ross. Unfortunately due to the spending habits of the City Council, El Paso City is facing a financial crisis. We are $2.5 billion in debt, borrowed way too much money and with the covid crisis have lost money that would have gone into our coffers. Libraries are essential for the less privileged which our city does not seem to care about. Raises were given to the City Manager, City Attorney and others while they furloughed employees to “save” money. To Save Money, all projects including the Quality of Life Bonds should be cancelled indefinitely until our City Buget can function properly. There must be ways to keep our libraries open and under covid guidelines. Marsha Labodda, President of Main Library Friends
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