Our Mission Statement

“The Merida English Library (MEL) is a not-for-profit organization offering a variety of cultural, educational, informational and social programs, services and events to the English-speaking community in the Yucatán, irrespective of their level of English language proficiency.  The cornerstone of MEL is a lending library that provides English-language material in all formats normally available from a traditional library.”

Library Collection

We have a collection of 12,000 books arranged in fiction, non-fiction, children, young adult, magazines, and we have numerous movies. We also have an extensive collection of Latin American Literature, and other reference books on Maya culture and the Yucatán. Our books are acquired from generous donations from the community.

Programs and Services

Learn more about our Member and Guest Programs and Services, as well as our Living in Mérida Program which gives people a glimpse of how expats are helping to revitalize this colonial city, our Explore Mérida and the Yucatán Program offering tours to help members and visitors experience all the area has to offer, our Adult Education Programs and our ever popular Conversaciones con Amigos Program.

Volunteers

The Merida English Library operates with volunteers!  Volunteers serve on the Board, staff the front desk, organize and lead the activities, give lectures and serve as consultants in their fields of expertise.  Would you like to join us?  Come and talk to us!

Membership

Become a member and experience it all!  Membership prices for the period September 2013- August 2014 are:

  • Family - $400 pesos (annual) - entitles each family member to borrow up to 5 items at a time for 2 weeks.
  • Individual - $300 pesos (annual) - entitles the individual to borrow up to 5 items at a time for 2 weeks.
  • Student - $150 pesos (annual) - entitles teachers and students with valid ID to borrow 5 items at a time for 2 weeks.
  • Basic student - $50 pesos (annual) - entitles teachers or students with valid ID to borrow 1 item for 2 weeks.
  • Tourist - $100 pesos (per week) - entitles the tourist to borrow up to 2 items at a time for the duration of the membership.

ALL MEMBERS RECEIVE DISCOUNTED PRICING ON ATTENDANCE AT Merida English Library FUNCTIONS!

Merida English Library’s History

Back in 1994, Elizabeth Dunkel stood up at an International Women’s Club Christmas brunch meeting and said, “Let’s start an English Library”.  She couldn’t picture herself living in a community without a place for sharing books. Before Elizabeth took the initiative, all exchanges of reading materials in English were done informally. 

Elizabeth hooked up with Chloe Pacheco, who, along with her lawyer, got the papers drawn up to found the Merida English Library Asociacion Civil.  Their friend, Elie Guidotti loaned her house (on Calle 53) to the founders and that became the first location for the Library.

Others joined in to help.  Colleen Leonard and others shelved books as donations began to come in from the English speaking community.  Marilyn Estes Smith did the reference books and directed the cataloging.  Ellen Lipscomb sort of ran things.  Paulie Williams arranged for a couple of volunteer librarians from the states to vacation in Merida and lend some expertise to the enterprise.

In the first 18 months, the Library moved three times, finally coming to it’s current location on Calle 53 # 524 between Calle 66 and Calle 68. This was formerly the home of Marilyn Estes Smith, who always said that when she died she wanted MEL to have her house. The Merida English Library has occupied Marilyn’s house ever since. All of us, members and volunteers alike, are grateful to the founders for their foresight and for their efforts in creating such a valuable community resource.

It is not always easy being a subscription library in a community that is used to having its library paid for by their taxes.  Merida English Library receives no funding from any level of government in Mexico. We generate operating revenues through subscriptions, fundraising events and donations from our benefactors. The story of the Merida English Library is a story of generosity and dedication.  So many people came forward in the formative years giving time, energy, books and money. Today, volunteers, members and patrons continue this cooperative effort. The Merida English Library is a model of sharing and partnership.

Thanks to Lorna Gail Dallin, one of Merida English Library’s volunteers and a former manager of the library, who contributed much of the information in this summary.

 

Merida English Library Board of Directors

Dan Karnes
Lewie Conner
Evonne von Boeck
Martha Lindley
Deborah Moore
Deborah Thompson