Open houses held at all Duval branches

Christopher Maher, Jim Wells County Correspondent

The Duval County Public Libraries held three open houses last week to show off more than 700 new books that were recently purchased through a grant.

The open houses were held at library branches in San Diego, Freer and Benavides on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of last week and highlighted new books purchased through a Texas Book Festival grant.

The $7,500 grant allowed for the purchase of 220 new books for the Freer library and 220 for the Benavides library, and more than 220 books for the San Diego library, Duval Library Director B.J. Alaniz said.

"The books were obtained to augment the areas that were lacking," Alaniz said. "So we've accomplished all those goals through this one grant. "They're really flying off the shelves."

Visitors also got to try out new software purchased for the three locations, including typing tutor programs and programs to assist in learning a second language.

In Freer on Wednesday, the library honored two individuals who have supported the Duval County Library system for many years.

In a special ceremony, Alaniz recognized Duval County Commissioner Gilberto Uribe Jr. for his help in obtaining a new facility for the Freer library last year.

Uribe said he had made the new facility a priority, and thanked former Duval County Judge E.B. Garcia for his assistance in getting the building.

"This library is a starting point for an education, and that's something nobody can take away from you," Uribe said.

Alaniz also recognized Mary Thames Bundy, a former coordinator for the South Texas Library System, for her help in continuing the library program.

"She's one of the key people who have helped our library since its inception," Alaniz said. "I feel she took our library under her wing. And she wanted to make sure we came up to a level that would meet the needs of all of our patrons."

Alaniz said she hoped the community would make an effort to visit the public libraries in Duval County to utilize the new resources that are available.

"We're just very happy to have this event, and we want more people to come in to visit our public libraries in Duval County," Alaniz said. "Both to show off what we have and to let them know what they can learn."