Featured in Vallarta Lifestyles Magazine, Spring/Summer 2009 issue.
Serving an average 200 users per day, the Los Mangos Public Library has evolved over the past decade to become one of Puerto Vallarta’s most important community centers. Interestingly enough, it was never conceived to become “the” public library for Puerto Vallarta. Nevertheless, thanks to a broad variety of complementary activities and under the caring tutelage of director Ricardo Murrieta, the Los Mangos Public Library has something wonderful for just about anyone who chooses to take time to discover this amazing gem.
According to guidelines set forth by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (www.ifla.org), a public library should contain approximately one book per resident, making Los Mangos’ humble collection of 27,000 volumes fall short against Puerto Vallarta’s population of approximately 300,000. Still, Los Mangos is considered one of Jalisco’s top public libraries, thanks to very specific goals and objectives set forth by Pro Biblioteca de Vallarta, the organization responsible for managing the library and promoting cultural events within its facilities. Take a peek at what a staff of eight librarians, one gardener and one person responsible for cleaning, plus a healthy volunteer pool, have in store for you!
To foster reading, the librarians at Los Mangos offer a variety of reading clubs and storytelling hours for children throughout the week. Two years ago, Rosa Robles, a Puerto Vallarta resident, offered to lead a reading club for adults. She’s been doing so ever since. Los Mangos also offers music courses that include one-on-one guitar and piano lessons. The creation of a children’s ensemble is also in the works. And if movement is your thing, Los Mangos’ spacious dance studio welcomes dance students of all ages, offering many weekly courses in folk, contemporary, flamenco and ballet.
Los Mangos’ wi-fi workstations are one of the library’s main attractions, allowing students and visitors to research topics of their choice. One of the state’s top picks when it comes to new resources, Los Mangos recently received specialized equipment for visually challenged visitors that includes scanners with optical character recognition and synthesized voices that can “read” entire books. A special Braille printer and a collection of 200 audio books are also part of this endowment.
The library’s Movie Club began in 2001 and continues to schedule screenings on a regular basis. Attendance has always been somewhat lukewarm; however, director Murrieta strongly believes that films and art exhibitions are excellent tools to increase interest in the library among Vallartenses. A gallery space is open to pretty much anyone who wishes to display their work, as long as they meet a basic requirements list.
The proper care of pets is essential to ensure their longevity. As such, Los Mangos maintains close bonds with Puerto Vallarta’s Sociedad Protectora y Compasiva por los Animales, commonly known as SPCA PV (www.spcapv.com), and with the Patronato de Control de Mascotas y Fauna Silvestre, A.C., or PV Animal (www.pvanimal.com). SPCA PV offers neutered and vaccinated pets for adoption at the library every Saturday morning for a small fee, along with advice for first-timers on how to properly budget and care for a new pet.
Ricardo Murrieta is quick to acknowledge the generous participation of Puerto Vallarta’s expat community since Los Mangos’ inception. It is thanks to folks up north and their deeper-ingrained habit of volunteering time, money and resources that the library has thrived, also instilling this habit among locals. One of such volunteers is the recently deceased Sally Conley, who for years maintained a children’s library in her own Pitillal home. Her legacy will continue at Los Mangos, however, through Sally’s Corner, a remodeling and expansion project of the library’s children’s area that will feature a new balcony for outdoor activities and flooring modification for kids to enjoy themselves more safely, among other features.
Stop by the library and meet Angelica Galvan (“the best librarian in town,” says Murrieta) and the rest of the staff, his pride and joy, and discover the many ways you can be a part of Los Mangos Public Library. The library is located at Francisco Villa 1001, around the corner from Costco. Also, go ahead and practice your language skills by visiting the library’s website, www.bibliotecalosmangos.com.