As an early 60th birthday present, San Manuel Library got a new look.

Fresh paint jobs on the interior and exterior, new carpeting and security fencing and new computers have the library looking better than it ever has.

The library has spent nearly $4,000 within the last two years, providing its first renovation in about 20 years. It nearly doubled its collection of 13 computers to 25, which include five in a room set aside for teens and two geared specifically for kids in a children’s room. The teen room also has video game consoles.

Pinal County funded part of the painting and new carpeting. BHP Copper plans to give the library $1,300 to install gates on its new chainlink fence.

“Everybody that comes in will say how beautiful it looks,” said Chaille McGrew, chairman of the library’s board of trustees.

San Manuel is an unincorporated town 35 miles northeast of Tucson. The library, at 108 W. 5th Ave., was started by local women in 1954, a year after the town was founded. Magma Copper Co. remodeled a two-bedroom company home and donated it to house the library in 1965.

BHP Copper, which owned and closed the San Manuel Mine in 1999, provides financial assistance to the library, which is also funded through donations. A staff of 13 volunteers keep the library running, although Pinal County employee Kathy Smith oversees its operation.

Fundraising efforts, including book sales, donation drives and fees, maintain the building and pay for utilities and upkeep.

For the rest of the story, check out Thursday's Northwest Star

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at or 573-4130.