If you wouldn’t normally include a library on your vacation itinerary, you might want to reconsider when you’re in San Miguel. The city’s Public Library has an extensive collection of both Spanish- and English-language books and films, and offers a quiet respite from the sights and sounds of the city.
In 1954, Canadian expat Helen Wale invited Mexican children to read through a collection of magazines in her home.
Soon, the volume of visitors outgrew the space. In 1958, the library moved to its current location in an 18th-century building several blocks north of El Jardin in central San Miguel.
Today, in addition to its abundant bilingual media, the library offers free classes for children on subjects like computers, painting and piano. The library also hosts cultural events and English-language tours that guide visitors through the neighborhood’s colonial architecture.
Inside the library, you’ll find a courtyard cafe (good for a quick bite) and the Santa Ana Theatre, which shows international films and hosts concerts by San Miguel’s popular musicians. With its large number of events, the site has become a cultural artery for residents and visitors alike.
“This is more than a library. It’s a memorable gathering point for Spanish and English speakers of all ages to share books, chess, movies, music and food,” one TripAdvisor reviewer wrote.
The library is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guided house and garden tours operate on Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon; the two-hour tour costs 150 MXN (about $12 USD) per person. Tickets can be purchased at library’s Ticket Center.