Merida English Library Uproar

Hope to see you tomorrow, sat., 12/31 at 10 AM in front of the library at Calle 53 near 68.
Sorry about the formatting from all the forwards, but I am trying to get this out tonight and hope that some library members will have a chance to see it.
The board of he library has fired the coordinator.
The membership and volunteers are completely backing the coordinator and think the board is highly unethical or worse. 
As you probably know, the ex-board President stole a large amount of money from the library and many of the same people who allowed this to happen are still on the board. 
I personally am not renewing my membership to the library, because who knows what will happen to my money?
Tomorrow, Saturday 12/31/11, library members are meeting out in the street in front of MELL since the library is locked down. 
Please be there and ask anyone else who is interested to be there. If you know anyone in the media, please call them. 
Apologies for errors of attribution, etc. but this was done in a hurry. There will be a full coverage of the incident in the next day or two. Watch this space.  -Yenta.
String of emails from tonight:
From: Leroy Osmon
Date: December 30, 2011 7:59:12 PM CST
To: library members
Subject: letter to board

As a member, patron (that has donated thousands of dollars of books over the years to MELL), advertiser and 16 year supporter of MELL, I feel it is time for the present board to resign. No matter what part any or all of the members had in this present situation IT HAPPENED ON YOUR WATCH. There can be absolutely no confidence in the present board and as a result the MELL will suffer greatly.

The board needs to turn to the original concept with an all English speaking membership and an all North American membership and include only those that are not in any way associated with the present board fiasco.
The ‘whistle-blower’ that brought this to the attention of the ‘officials’ should be rewarded – NOT FIRED! This act alone by the board (firing the present Liberian) cast aspersions on the present members. If the library is to survive this, the board must do what is best for the preservation of MELL and that simply means they must go. Right, wrong, uninformed, complacent – it does not matter at this time. Many members, like my wife and I will simply no longer have any thing to do with the present situation and that would include the retention of the present board.
As current members, we call for the resignation of the present board.
Dr. Leroy Osmon, DMA
Dr. Cay Smith Osmon, EdD

Lorna Gail Dallin to me (BG)
show details 8:10 PM (1 hour ago)

Hola!  Beryl …I just sent this email to the volunteers of MELL as we have walked off the job in protest of Maria’s firing.  Your observation that we are (or were) very lucky to have a person of Maria’s calibre working at our own little Library, is spot on.  How could the board push that aside so carelessly.-0-0-0-0-0-0

The volunteers are out in protest … we will not open the Library Tomorrow morning, Saturday.  We will be there at 10.00 to talk with members who show up.
If you can, come by the Library tomorrow between 10 and 1 … to get more information, to consolidate, to comisserate, to confirm our message both to the members and to the board
I will look forward to seeing you there at sometime … we will meet in the street.Again, I am not sure that I have all current volunteers on my list so if you see any misses, please pass the word.
Pass the word to friends of the Library and ask them to come by as well.  We need some visible support.
See you there.
Why don’t you drop by … there will be lots of discussion as to what is happening, what has happened and what might happen.


Begin forwarded message:
From: Leroy Osmon <l
Date: December 30, 2011 7:33:47 PM CST
To: Arnott Hilary Elizabeth
Subject: Board meeting Sat. at MELL 10AM

If you have ever used the English Library and are interested in the future of the Merida English Library then I would like to recommend that you attend the board meeting Sat. 31 Dec. at 10AM.

As some of you may know, there was a reported theft of between $250,000.pesos and $450,000.pesos and the person that discovered the theft has been asked to resign. As a 16 year supporter of MELL (the English Library) I do not want to see it be closed and or damaged any more than it has.
There are some very good people that have served in the past on the Board of Directors and there are some good people presently serving, however, the situation has developed to a ‘vote of no confidence’ and to save the Library I feel that the present board should step aside.
It is my understanding there will be a meeting tomorrow and I would like to invite anyone that is interested in the preservation of the English Library to attend the meeting.
Leroy Osmon

Dr. Leroy Osmon, DMA
Begin forwarded message:
From: Leroy Osmon
Date: December 30, 2011 5:05:00 PM CST
From Osrom: 
Subject: MELL problems
It seems that the MELL (English Library) is in a big mess these days. In fact when I moved back a year ago the library was in such a mess that we simply did not even trust donating books any longer! We saw the newly appointed Liberian as a step in the right direction.  At this point I do not care who is right or who is wrong – I would like to see the board resign and a new board be established. After the theft of money and the way it was dealt with I see no way there can ever be any confidence in the present board. I am sorry to say this because there are some friends of mine presently serving on the board, however, what is best for the library is my concern because it is an absolute treasure in Merida and I do not wish to see it suffer any longer.
As for the Merida English Library…. Cay and I will no longer support MELL to any degree and withdraw our monthly ad and our membership! When there is a new board in place and legal action has been taken to regain the money stolen (all of the money) we will consider supporting MELL once again.
Dr. Leroy Osmon
Letter from Roger

Some of you may have already heard about the irregular,unlawful and shameful things happening at theMerida English Library under the inept leadership of the current board and this letter from the most recent Library Administrator ( who was today unjustly fired ) by the current board pretty much says it all. I would ask all of you to not patronize the library until a new board is in place. All the current volunteers have chosen to no longer donate their time operating the library or support such extra activities as the chili cook-off until the existing board is either replaced or resigns. If you read the letter carefully you will have pretty much the entire story.

About BG

Beryl Gorbman is a writer and private investigator who divides her time between Seattle WA and Merida Yucatan Mexico. She has published two works of fiction, 2012: Deadly Awakening, and Madrugada. They are both available on Amazon and other outlets. Also at Amate Books, and Casa Catherwood in Merida. You can read about them in various articles on this site.
This entry was posted in Merida Expat Life. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Merida English Library Uproar

  1. Dr. Leroy Osmon says:

    Thank you for your concern about the English Library. It is a valuable asset and I hope this matter can be resolved quickly and will as little media damage to the library as possible.

    If the majority of the MELL membership are unhappy with the present situation then things will change. If things do not change then those of us that feel legal action should be taken and that Maria H. has been treated unfairly will simply no longer support MELL. It is up to the board to do what is best for the preservation of MELL We as members, may or may not agree and can show this by way of our support or lack of support.

    You give me credit in your post for one section that I did not write. Also, it would be nice if individual emails were not shown in a public forum such as this to keep from receiving junk mail. If you can remove displayed emails it would be appreciated.

  2. Paul Beith says:

    I certainly hope MEL won’t be restricted to people of certain nationalities.
    MEL would miss out on some excellent potential members.

    Some of you might be displeased that I’m commenting, though I’m
    not currently a MEL member. Unfortunately, some people will be
    upset with “gringos” if MEL restricts their library to certain nationalities only.

    • BG says:

      I completely agree with Paul B. The suggestion that the board and staff be completely english-speaking or american is counter to our goals, or certainly should be. In fact, it is a disgusting statement.
      - The Yenta

  3. Vince Gricus says:

    Off with their HEADS! Perhaps the board can spend the stolen funds on their much needed Rehabs!

  4. Rob says:

    Anyone who made a donation to MELL under fraudulent conditions (believing that it was a bona fide Mexican nonprofit institution, as claimed on MELL’s website, only to find out now that MELL does not comply with Mexican laws governing nonprofit organizations) can file a criminal complaint against MELL with the Procuraduria General de la Republica (PGR). This is Mexico’s Attorney General’s office. You canemail Inspector Reyna Mayte at

  5. Ivy Devlin says:

    I have enjoyed my two years membership of the Library and am disappointed at the decision to ‘fire’ Maria. I think she is the breath of new life it needed. I never saw, or for that matter, even knew any members of the present Board, far less seeing them doing any work in the Library.

    I hope the problems can be resolved soon. I hope that speaking English with a Scottish accent will not bar me!


    Ivy Devlin

  6. richard pauli says:

    I wish I could be there. It is such an important task to build a trusted library system. The library is a crucial institution – because it is your access to information.

    You all are doing so much exciting work by insisting on this community connection. Please know, that many of us who cannot be there now are wishing you great strength.

  7. Christoforo says:

    Beryl, as you know, the money has been recovered over a month ago.

    As you know, the board isn’t trying to throw out non-English speaking membership, but quite the opposite: they are trying to integrate the Library better into the Yucatecan community.

    There have been mistakes and missteps, but not because of evil conspiracies or mal-intent. This entire post is so overblown and ridiculous that one has to wonder where your credibility is going…. And since when have all the complainers volunteered to take on the real work of monthly meetings, complaints coming in from all angles, trying to please people with every possible outlook on life?

    Anyway, hope you all had fun standing on the sidewalk.

    • BG says:

      The initial post about the library,from this morning, was written completely by other people, not me – except for the intro.
      If you read the letters carefully, you will see where there is a suggestion (from a member) that the board go back to all English-speaking members as it was before. I did not write that. And it was not from the Board and I didn’t say it was.
      If you don’t think the Board prez stealing a lot of money from a library, over a long period, and then having the theft covered up by the rest of the board for many months isn’t mal intent, I can’t imagine what you think would be.

  8. Anonymous says:


    Why doesn’t the Board release MELL’s bank statements for calendar year 2011? That would give a definitive answer to how much it had, how much was stolen, how much has been replaced.


  9. Jill Alter says:

    Let’s Rehire Maria H. She is Has a UNIV. Degree to in Library Science.
    No One Else is More Qualified then Maria!
    …as I see it
    The few…’Gringa/os’ who do not want a Mexican who was ‘raised in USA’ to run the library …I say Go HOME to your Native Country.
    wE aRe Living In MEXICO!!!
    Sad but True…It is best “when terrible situations” like this happen…
    Resignation is the best and quickest way to rsolve this dispute before all ‘GoodWill” falls by the wayside.
    The Good Board Members with… the Not so good Board Members ‘for the Good of All’
    I call on you to resign.

    The Present Board Members, as well as New Candidates for the board could/should/may run for the Openings on the New Board.
    This Library “MEL” Is the Best resource for Helping and Improving Mexican/Gringo relationships, as well as a Wonderful Place to meet new friends and…
    A Super Wonderful source of…English Language Books

  10. Paul Beith says:

    Point of information: I know one of the board members and he is a very
    giving person, not dishonest or a “taker.” I get a bit concerned that some people
    will think the current board are all thieves. In the case of the person I know,
    he is the extreme opposite of a thief. He helps the community without expecting
    anything in return.

  11. Sharon says:

    “The membership and volunteers are completely backing the coordinator and think the board is highly unethical or worse.” You wrote this on the day that the administrator was fired. How could you possibly know that the membership is completely backing the coordinator? Did I miss a poll?

    Secondly, I think is is bad form to report one side of the story as though it were the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. All we really know for sure is that Maria was fired. She gives an actionable reason: causing a rift between herself, board members, members, and volunteers. I don’t know if she was, in fact, causing a rift, and I’ll bet you don’t know either. In the US, there is a standard process for firing an employee, which involves several written warnings before the axe falls. Unfortunately, there probably is no paper trail in this case. So it is her word against the board’s. And that is all there is unless other facts come to light.

    • BG says:

      The other side (would that be you?) is welcome to participate.

    • mcm says:

      I’m VERY uncomfortable with the tone of this series on the library. I too (like the comment above) must have missed that poll of the membership’s views on the situation. At the very least, perhaps statements that indicate that the membership is in full support of the ”dissident” group should be amended.

      Ms. Hernandez, the most recent library administrator, believes she was fired unjustly. Therefore she should go to the official labor arbitration board and file a complaint. The arbitration board will then decide if the firing was justified, if she must be rehired, and/or what compensation is due. It can be a long process, but it IS the process for resolving labor disputes.
      Note also that if, as is being asserted, the employer did not fulfill their legal obligations to the employee, that too can be resolved through a complaint to the arbitration board.
      I might also add that the library’s lack of transparency is nothing new, and has always been annoying to at least some of the membership (based on my observations — I’ve been a library member, occasional volunteer, and full-time resident of this city since 1997). At least NOW the library board is making noises about instigating more transparency (financial statements open to the membership, a dedicated e-mail address for members to address board members directly, etc.). This is what the board stated in their November letter to the membership, where they outlined the embezzlement situation, it’s current status, and their rationale for not pursuing a criminal complaint against the embezzler. It’s more than unfortunate that it took a major crime (the embezzlement by the board president) to shake things up.

      • BG says:

        Sorry, I was taking the tone of the volunteers and members who were protesting outside of the library. I apologize if there are a number of you who don’t agree with this particular group of volunteers.

  12. Sharon says:

    If, by the other side, you mean those who do not accept and repeat unsubstantiated allegations as fact, then yes, I am the other side.

  13. Leroy Osmon says:

    The following statement is in reference to the board (NOT the membership of MELL):

    ‘The board needs to turn to the original concept with an all English speaking membership and an all North American membership [of the board] and include only those that are not in any way associated with the present board fiasco.”
    It is a ‘public’ library and should be open to anyone – however, it is my opinion that the BOARD should be English speaking. It is the Merida English Language Library… stress ‘English language’!

    Sorry if this statement has caused a conflict but it is my opinion and only my opinion. A person does not have to agree or like it – but it is something that I ‘own”. Put anyone on the board that will work to create a quality library, just make sure they can speak English.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Actually, Leroy is mistaken. Spanish is the official language in Mexico, so everyone on the Board should speak BOTH English and Spanish fluently. They require proficiency in English to hold public-interest posts in the US, and the same applies in Mexico. Yes, speak English … but the Board should also be required to be fluent in Spanish.

  15. Barbara Bode says:

    Hi Beryl!

    Please check the acuracy of this notice I would like to post. I mention it at all simply because I have seen no reference to this meeting that I was urged to attend by Lorna Gail, among others. It is a meeting for “members” but I don’t know if they must be dues-paying members. I assume so but because I am dues-paying it didn’t occur to me as an issue until I finished reading all these posts you’ve so helpfully collected. My understanding is that the meeting tomorrow afternoon, Monday the 9th, will be held inside the library at 4 pm..

    If there are others who, like me, assumed this nonprofit Board would be operating under rules similar to those in the US, I urge them to read the postings regarding Mexican operating regulations.

    In order to attend this meeting with a productive strategic mindset, awareness of these rules is vital.

    • BG says:

      Yes, my understanding is that the meeting is open to all library members and is at the library at 4 pm. Is that what you wanted to know?

  16. craigm says:

    I plan to move to the progreso area soon. I’m an avid reader and have an opportunity to bring dozens of paperback books mostly of the mystery/who dunnit genre.Lecroat-martini-Baldcucci-Demille-Patterson-Kellerman-Scarpetta,etc. novels. I’m glad to share these,but b/4 I pay the extravagant airline charges ,what is the current state of Mell and are these types of literature widely avaliable already? thanx for any feedback

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