U.S. Ambassador Wayne Celebrates 70th Anniversary of the Benjamin Franklin Library
Mexico City, April 27, 2012 – U.S. Ambassador Anthony Wayne celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the first American overseas library, the Benjamin Franklin Library in Mexico City on the evening of April 26. Ambassador Wayne noted that this library, opened April 13, 1942, is a timeless symbol of strong ties between the United States and Mexico. The BFL engages with the community and civil society in hundreds of cultural and educational programs annually. The reference desk answers nearly 21,000 queries every year utilizing a specialized collection of materials on bilateral relations, English teaching, librarianship, and American culture.
In his remarks, Ambassador Wayne congratulated librarians for the contributions they have made with their libraries in Mexico, and thanked them for inspiring patrons to become inquisitive and independent lifelong learners. Ambassador Wayne also expressed gratitude for past and present staff of “la Franklin” for their tireless work, for sparking action, fostering collaboration, sharing knowledge, and leading people into the future. “And it’s in the spirit of inspiring lives that the library cultivates important and intimate relationships,” said Ambassador Wayne.
The reception included Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Fabiola Rodríguez-Ciampoli, who was raised in Mexico City and recalled that she started patronizing the BFL as a high school student and later obtained the information there to win a Fulbright scholarship that took her to the United States for her master’s degree. “For those of us who work in U.S. public diplomacy, this library is what Graceland is to Elvis Presley fans. This library is that big and meaningful to us,” said Rodríguez-Ciampoli.
Minister for Culture and Arts General Library Director Fernando Álvarez del Castillo said: “The Benjamin Franklin Library has been for seventy years an institutional standard in library matters. It is a lively, moving, permanent and active library, committed to its mission and its cultural legacy. Let us remember that libraries are hospitals for the soul.”
Also at the reception were librarians representing all types of libraries in Mexico and alumni of Embassy-sponsored exchange programs.
Today, BFL is the last remaining free-standing American library in the region, uniting educational advising, English teaching, cultural and speaker programs, and a specialized library in one dynamic public diplomacy platform to promote mutual understanding and strengthen the friendship between the United States and Mexico. More information about the Benjamin Franklin Library is located at: http://www.usembassy-mexico.gov/bbf/biblioteca.htm.
Fotografías en alta resolución en: http://www.flickr.com/photos/61972246@N08/?saved=1
* * * * *