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Palmview opens first Municipal Library

Palmview residents can now look forward to visiting their first hometown library following the Palmview Municipal Library historical opening on Saturday.

Palmview, established in 1972, mostly relied on the sister city Mission to use library resources such as the Speer Memorial Library. For kids wanting to read in the summer, school libraries were the closest option. However, for the first time in its history, the city now has a library to call its own.

“It’s a big moment for the city,” said Palmview mayor Rick Villarreal. “It was great seeing this facility now officially open to the public. It’s awesome. I’m still elated.”

In celebration, the city invited local authors David Leija and Dr. Aida Acuna-Garza, who read to residents and children after the opening ceremony.

Grants supplied by United Way of South Texas and T-Mobile, together totaling over $100K for the Youth Club and Library, helped the city renovate the portable building with new flooring, rooms, and equipment. An estimated $230K was spent on this project, according to Villarreal, with the city putting $50K into it.

“It was always a discussion and a want, but in 2020, we got our first grant from United Way for twenty thousand specifically to remodel a portable building,” City Manager Michael Leo said. “When we got that the council was like ‘let’s establish the Library Committee and then we’re going to do this.'”

Sister city libraries such as Speer Memorial Library, Dustin Sekula Memorial Library, Los Fresnos Library, and La Feria Library contributed shelving, with books donated by community members.

Inside the library, an old portable provided by the La Joya ISD school district in 2019, lies sections for children, young adults, and adult readers. From the marvels of Stephen King to James Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, this small library is an immense chronicle of knowledge.

A catalog of 3,000 books sits on shelves, while an additional 3,000 has yet to be cataloged.

Library Director Jose Tamez of Donna said that to be registered as a library under the Texas School Library Standards, they need to have a total of 15,000 books to receive accreditation.

“We’re still accepting donations,” he said. “We welcome any donations the public wants to bring us.”

Other resources include ten Chrome books and Wi-Fi access that community members can use. Storytimes and youth activities will also be available for children and teens who look to decompress after school.

“There’s thousands of resources they can get through the county as well,” Tamez said.

Tamez said the library is currently working to partner with Region One Education Center to contract an instructor for GED and computer classes.

“We’re working with partners to be able to bring those classes,” he said. “We’re also going to have a citizenship class.”

With these resources, the city of Palmview hopes to increase its literacy rates and inspire learning.

“I know it’s going to be improving the quality of life,” Villarreal said. “I know one major goal is to increase literacy in our community and that is big.”

The Palmview Municipal Library is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“The more educated our community is, the more wealth our community brings to us,” Villarreal said. “I don’t mean wealth in money. I mean wealth in knowledge.”

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