Some of us dream of libraries; a couple more dream of finding English-language books in them. MEL, as the Merida English Library is known, is home to a collection of 12,000 books in English. About 15,000 items in total. This translates into rows and rows of books, not knowing where to look, and perhaps forgetting for a moment what you came for.
Since the Merida English Library’s beginnings in 1994, “the volunteers are the ones who make it all possible,” Karime Minaya, MEL’s Administrator, told me. It’s the volunteers who will greet you at the front desk and in the hallways. They are also part of the different committees that organize activities, give the famous MEL Talks (lectures given by experts), and help with the catalog. In short, they do everything for visitors so they can enjoy a cultural, safe, and joyful environment. I can assure you that everyone here is in love with literature.
It is worth mentioning that the Merida English Library is a non-profit association that “feeds” itself through fundraising events, benefactors, and subscriptions. The books, on the other hand, are donations from the community. Do you have books in English in good condition that need a new home? They are most welcome at MEL, as are office supplies, such as furniture or other items. They also accept monetary contributions.
In addition to lending books, audiobooks, puzzles, and DVDs, MEL holds cultural events that help in bringing – and keeping – together the community, especially the foreign community. Alfonso López, Community Engagement & Outreach Coordinator, told me about some of them: the artisan bazaar, the MEL Talks, Wine Tastings, MEL House & Garden Tour, MEL Story Time, and Conversations with Friends.
The events are divided by seasons, the strongest being from November to March (gone by now); you can check the calendar, prices, and schedules on the website or social media. Coming up, they’ll have a special Story Time for Children’s Day (April 30, 10 – 11 am).
How do I check out a book?
MEL is an open-shelf library, meaning that you can browse and take the book (or any material) of your choice. If you wish, you can search on the online catalog to check the availability of the book you want.
How do I become a member of the Merida English Library?
An annual membership is required to borrow items, which you can get through their website (via PayPal) or directly at the library. MEL has three options: family ($500 pesos, up to five members), individual ($400 pesos), and student ($150 pesos). Select whichever suits you best!
Each option entitles members to take home up to five items at a time for two weeks. If you have a family membership, it’s five for each. In addition, library members have discounts on tickets for paid events.
Calle 53 #524 x 66 y 68, Centro, Mérida
FB: Merida English Library
Mon. – Sat. 9 am – 1 pm; afternoon hours coming soon: Wed. 4 – 7 pm
Editorial by Olivia Camarena
Yucatecan communicologist. Your favorite Assistant Editor. Writer, blogger, and bookstagrammer in her spare time. She also experiments with TikTok.
Photography by Olivia Camarena for its use in Yucatán Today.
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