The Library has been a work, a prosperous project for 65 years, thanks to the generous gift of time, money and support from the good people of San Miguel de Allende, visitors from other states and foreigners. The Library wants to thank all these people, groups, and companies who have contributed so much over the years.
In 1734, Father José Hipólito de Aguado and a group of priests from the Oratorio church founded a home for poor women abandoned by family, husbands or widows called Hogar de Nuestra Señora de Santa Ana. This home was maintained by the high society of San Miguel de Allende.
In 1743, when Doña María de Retis died, Allende’s great-grandmother donated $ 100.00 pesos to the women’s home. Through many years, a large number of San Miguel women lived in this home quietly, some married, others became nuns, and others spent their entire lives there.
In 1862, El Hogar de Mujeres was expropriated by the government during the War of the Reform, and the women were expelled. The building was left in ruins and later became the trail.
In 1954, the Library began to function in a private home, and in 1958, it moved to its present location in Insurgentes # 25 where its 64 anniversaries are celebrated offering a series of cultural events.
We have about 57,000 books (April 2019) in Spanish, English, in the Library, we offer workshops, courses, classes for boys and girls in computing, painting, English, guitar, piano, choir; also conferences, cinema and theater for all audiences. Scholarships are also awarded to (110 qualified youth in 2018), let’s go for more!
BIRTH OF AN IDEA
In 1954, Helen Wale invited young Mexicans to her home on Hospicio Street to enjoy her large collection of magazines. Word soon spread and it was necessary to bring in more chairs and tables for the children. Several foreigners offered help in this task.
Soon after, in 1955, the need arose to rent a larger space. Here, Helen Wale and her volunteers added educational materials and introduced a collection of fairy tales in English, translated into Spanish. This was so successful that American students began donating books in English, translating them into Spanish.
The volunteers were happy with their success, so in 1957 they decided to ask the governor of Guanajuato Jesús Rodríguez Gaona to establish a suitable space to create a Library that would serve the entire community.
The following year, the governor offered them on loan the Insurgentes building # 9 (now 25) *, a building that had been a trail, and previously part of the School for Girls and Midwives of Mrs. Santa Ana.
Several events were organized to collect the $ 20,000.00 pesos necessary to begin the restoration. The State then contributed $ 161,234.00 pesos. The complete restoration. Governor Rodríguez Gaona officially inaugurated the Public Library on Sunday, November 21, 1958. In a contract with the State, authorized by the Federal Government, owner of the property, said property was legally granted to the Public Library, AC.
THE FIRST PROGRAM designed to try to support the Library financially was The Tour to Houses and Gardens, then with postcards made by the children with the help of volunteer painters. There the idea of opening a gift shop began.
THE VOLUNTARY LIBRARIANS WERE:
Gloria Graham, Marny Martin and Tony de Gerez.
The activity grew so much that it was necessary to hire a librarian, Professor Benjamin García, who taught Mr. Juan Manuel Fajardo to be able to manage the projects with books.
In 1975, La Biblioteca began to publish the newspaper Attention and in 1982 the program to support rural libraries began. This program has contributed books and shelves to more than 350 rural schools.
In 1993, the area where the Teatro and Café Santa Ana are located was owned by the Briones family. A deal could never be made with the family to purchase the building, but when the last member of this family died, the government added this property to the contract signed in 1958 with the Library. In the Quetzal room, next to the Café, the collection of Latin American Studies is located. This room was named after Toni de Gerez, its great promoter.
HELEN MACGREGOR WALE
Born in Canada on July 5, 1902, she was the daughter of the Reverend Charles P. and Mrs. MacGregor.
She grew up and studied in New England, although she later moved to New York, Washington and Chicago where she had his family.
In the last stage of his life, she arrived in San Miguel de Allende, where in 1954 she opened a Library for the children of the community.
In three years it had already grown so much that it looked for alternatives to expand it, later the government of Guanajuato gave an old building where the Convent and Collection of the Matronas and Maidens of the Lady of Santa Ana was located, which currently houses the Library facilities. .
Today hundreds of children, youth and adults are served who come to read, study and enrich their education and culture.
Currently the Library is managed by a Civil Association and a group of volunteers of different nationalities.
The Library cares about the present and future needs of users, trying to improve and increase its collection of books by acquiring bibliographic material in order to satisfy the demands of the reader who comes to our facilities supported by a professional team to guide and assist. them in the different areas.
Helen Wale passed away on August 22, 1975, after 23 years of living in her beloved San Miguel de Allende.