The Alice Public Library will soon see a name change after the Alice City Council unanimously voted to rename the more than 40-year-old building in honor of its longtime library director Alicia Salinas during Wednesday’s regular meeting.
Alice City Manager Ray De Los Santos Jr. said the Alice Public Library opened in September 1967 with Salinas joining the library as a cataloger in November that same year. She also worked as a secretary, bookkeeper and children’s programmer. In 1973, Salinas was promoted to assistant librarian and then to head librarian/library director in 1975, a position De Los Santos said she has held for the past 36 years.
“Total, she has 43-plus years,” De Los Santos said. “This November will complete her 44th year with the City of Alice.”
De Los Santos said one of the things Salinas has done throughout many decades and various generations is ensure literacy.
“When I spoke to her and asked, ‘Why do you continue to work here as opposed to doing what a lot of other people would enjoy doing in retirement?’ she mentioned a quote,” he said. “It was her quote, but it just sounded so meaningful. She said, ‘Literacy makes a successful community, and that’s why I choose to continue to work.’”
Council member Michael Esparza said that as far as he could remember, going to the library as part of summer reading programs as a child, Salinas was always there.
“I thank you for all that you did for us and all of the children of the community also and for spending so much time with the city,” he said. “I also think that it’s absolutely appropriate that you be honored in this way.”
Salinas then came up to the podium and thanked the council, calling the renaming of the library both humbling and a great honor.
“When Mr. De Los Santos invited me to a directors’ meeting on the library sign, I thought, ‘What’s wrong with the library sign?’” she said. “Well, it surprised me when he proposed the idea of renaming the library after me, and I was speechless – almost. Because I was thinking usually buildings are named after dead people. Have I died and gone to library heaven? Anyway, I finally found my voice and said that I’m humbled, I’m honored.”
Salinas thanked the council for their staunch support of library services. She said she has had the privilege of having very dedicated and responsible library staffs that she said have made her job easier and fulfilling.