November 24, 2017

Veronica Myers | Movers & Shakers 2002

Filling the Empty Building

Filling the empty building

As a child, Veronica Myers always wanted to work for the public library like her older sisters did. When she got her wish, she was assigned to the Armijo branch library in El Paso’s poorest neighborhood, two blocks from the border–a library that had everything but people using it. Myers could see hundreds of children outside her window, but few ever entered. Some would timidly ask if they were allowed to come in–they didn’t know that in America, public libraries welcomed everyone. Myers set out to bring those children, and their parents, inside.

Since many were new immigrants who spoke no English, she set up classes teaching people to read both English and Spanish. She enlisted border guards to work with her community on projects like repairing bicycles and brought in experts to help with income taxes, immigration issues, and other problems of daily life.

Vitals


Current position: Acting Branch Manager, Armijo Branch of the El Paso Public Library System

Slogan: “I’m Learning/Estoy Aprendiendo”

Myers’s Dia de los Niños/Dia de los Libros celebration–one of the first in the country–offered children the gift of books and the love of reading. Five hundred children attended the first one, in 1997; by 2001, over 10,000 children from all over the city attended, and each child was given three books.

Myers worked with police, schools, youth groups, and social service agencies to bring people in and to get grants to expand the library and the “teen hangout” program. To get children off to a good start, she worked with new mothers, giving newborns their first book and a T-shirt inscribed “I’m Learning/Estoy Aprendiendo.” At Christmas, she makes sure every child who comes to the library gets a present. She has turned her once-empty library into a busy, bustling place.

Myers does all this while raising her family and completing her B.A. in marketing. She hopes that once she gets her MLS, it will enable her to do the same work, on a much larger scale, so she can serve even more children.

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