Book bug Binnie goes to college
Scholarship endowment established for DACC
For the past 23 years, the Valley Communities Library Association (VCLA) has served the literacy needs of the Anthony, N.M., Canutillo and Gadsden Independent School Districts and surrounding areas through the outreach of its mascot Binnie the Book Bug.
VCLA is dissolving, but its mascot will be remembered through the new Binnie the Book Bug Endowed Scholarship for Doña Ana Community College students pursuing studies in library science.
DACC and VCLA announced the endowment Tuesday, Jan. 8, at the DACC Gadsden Campus in Anthony, N.M.
VCLA was incorporated in Texas in 1989 with the purpose to pursue the establishment of a library for the Anthony area. In an effort to raise funds, VCLA established a used bookstore on Anthony’s Main Street. In 1991, VCLA converted the bookstore to a lending library, under the direction of the New Mexico State Library in Santa Fe.
“With the help of some volunteers and Cynthia Nava, the Gadsden School District offered the use of three classrooms on the Anthony Elementary School Campus,” said long-time VCLA member Eleanor Beddo, who began volunteering with the VCLA in 1995. “We had wonderful new living quarters and were starting to receive grants to help with expenses and programs, but not enough children or adults were coming in.”
Beddo said VCLA tried every conventional promotion including feature articles, television interviews, summer reading programs and school partnerships.
“I began to realize we needed a regular public relations program of going to the people whether they were in a school classroom, at a community fair or parade,” she said. “We needed something people could identify with the library every time they saw it. We needed a live, costumed mascot.”
In 2000, Beddo and VCLA member Sharon Rhine formed a special projects committee to create a mascot, and in January 2001, a drawing contest was developed for area elementary schools. The winning entry was submitted by Clarisa Villalobos, then a La Union Elementary fifth-grade student. Her creation became the official mascot and Binnie the Book Bug debuted April 12, 2003.
Additional contributions to the Binnie the Book Bug Endowed Scholarship Fund can be made to the New Mexico State University Foundation, P.O. Box 3590, Las Cruces, NM 88003. Scholarship funds will qualify for a one-to-one match.
Gathering for the Valley Communities Library Association creation of a scholarship endowment at Doña Ana Community College Tuesday, Jan. 8, are Sharon Rhine, VCLA president; Jaylene McIntosh, DACC development director; Susan Pinkerton, DACC library science professor; Lisa Maynez, DACC financial aid and scholarship advisor; Kristi Martin, DACC development officer; Margaret Lovelace, DACC special assistant to the president; Clarisa Villalobos, original creator of Binnie the Book Bug and her then fifth-grade teacher at La Union Elementary School Bibiana Medina.