The El Paso Public Library was established in 1894. It was founded by Mary Irene Stanton a local El Paso teacher during that time. She donated 1,000 books from her own collection to help jump start the establishment. The library was located in City Hall but later its own building was built in 1909 over an old cemetary. The area of land was dubbed Carnegie square.
I live about five minutes away from this library. It is located in the middle of a very congested downtown area in El Paso, TX on North Oregon Street. The image I found on the internet is very different from the building that is currently here. The building was renovated in 2009 and a top floor was added. This floor currently houses the administration offices, Teen Town and Children's section.
There are two entrances to the building, one facing Carnegie park (the name Carnegie has stuck since its 1909 debut) and the other facing Oregon Street. The Oregon Street entrance was the original entrance and the Carnegie Park entrance is the new one that was made as part of the new addition in 2009. The Carnegie park entrance is a very confusing part of the building as it is meant to be the front entrance, yet it is on a side that is not easily visible. The inside contains one top floor, the bottom floor and two basements. Only one basement is accessible to the public, the second basement is only for staff. In speaking to the head librarian, she explained to me that they don't have much problems with patrons walking into staff areas but that there are issues with visitors who sometimes get irate. Because of this, they have a security guard everyday of the seven days that they are open. The main floor of the Library contains the Adult Non-Fiction, Border Heritage collection, Fiction, movie and music section. The basement houses newspapers, Spanish and periodical collection.
In speaking to the Library staff, they mentioned that the Library is a staple of the community because it provides information to the residents and students who frequently visit. Also, it acts as a safe haven for the homeless who need a place to spend time during bad weather or a cold day. The border heritage section is a very useful area for those seeking information about their ancestors or news about an area of El Paso, TX.
The computer lab here is an area that gets heavy traffic. People use them to research for school, recreational purposes or just to play a game or watch a movie. However, I spoke to the computer lab staff and they state that they have a reoccurring problem of patrons using the computers to watch inappropriate material. When something like this happens they call security to ask the person to leave. For this reason, it's nice that they have a separate computers for children and teens. However, in the coming year the top floor addition will be made into another project that the city is working on. They are building a Spanish Heritage Center and it is going to be connected to the library. The Teen and Children area is going to be converted to part of this center.