A library in Southeast Irving is seeing big changes this summer thanks to a new branch manager who is on a mission to get more people to visit the facility and take advantage of its services.
The East Irving Branch Library near Irving Boulevard and Nursery Road is located in area with higher-than-usual crime rates. Police dedicated a problem-solving unit to the area, and crime has fallen by 26 percent, said police spokesperson John Argumaniz.
Rosemary Cortez, the library's branch manager since May, said she has been trying to put the library on the map for those living and working nearby.
"I made it a point to go out and start knocking on doors, let them know that I'm the new manager here and let them know that we have different services available and that they're all free," she s
Neighboring businesses support her efforts, posting the signs she brings.
"She always comes with fliers about new stuff that is going on at the library for the kids and the community over the summer," said Jesus Flores, who works at a business that shares its parking lot with the library.
Cortez's efforts have been paying off. She said attendance at the library has gone up 25 percent compared to the same time last year.
Cortez also said about 600 people have been coming every day in recent weeks.
"Sometimes we're wall-to-wall people, but that's a good thing," she said.
The library also offers bilingual programs, helping both kids and their parents.
"When Miss Corine reads, I'm learning English, too, with my ears," said Maria Chabman, who has been coming to the library with her son for the past seven years.
Cortez said her staff also reflects the community that it serves.
"The majority of our staff speaks Spanish, and the community responds to that. They know that we're here to help them," said Cortez.
Carri Mecca, a teacher who tutors at the library during the summer, said the changes have been significant hopes they stay.
"I've tutored here before, previous summers, and it was nearly not as crowded or as much parent involvement or family involvement as it has been this summer," Mecca said.
Irving police's problem-solving unit will host two community meetings in July.
The first meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Heritage Senior Center's ballroom. The second meeting will take place July 31 in front of the Casa Bella I apartments at 851 S. Irving Heights.