Graciela Alvidrez assists daughter Kimberly Nunez with her research at the Ysleta Branch Library.  (Victor Calzada / El Paso Times)
Visits to the Ysleta Branch Library are quite different since recent improvements were made, according to some Lower Valley residents.
College student Miguel Garcia invited his friend, Jessilyn Montañez, there last week.
Montañez and Garcia were looking for a quiet place where they could read and go over their notes.
Montañez said she was surprised by all the changes made at the library located on Alameda Avenue.
"It looks really nice. The last time I visited the library, I was a little girl," she said.
Branch manager Aimee Camp said the library recently got 31 new computers with the latest software programs -- 19 are equipped with 22-inch flat screen monitors and 12 with 17-inch flat screen monitors in recessed desks. One computer station is adapted for people with disabilities.
Lower Valley resident Yazmin Quezada said she uses the library's computers at least twice a week.
Quezada said she is glad to use new computer equipment that runs programs faster.
"With the other system, it used to take so long to download documents," she said.
The Ysleta Branch was the first library in the El Paso system to receive improvements through an $8.4 million federal grant, Camp said.
She said the grant will help replace equipment and build computer labs in more than 90 sites around El Paso County, including other public library branches.
Part of the grant also will help the Ysleta branch expand its computer classes, she said. Other improvements include new
carpet and a coffee shop inside the library. Garcia said he started visiting last month when he discovered the new coffee shop.
"I needed a place to study and I've seen this (coffee shop) area. It's pretty cool," Garcia said.
He added that he'd like to see Starbucks-type coffee shops open up in the Lower Valley since there aren't any such coffee shops right now.
Camp said wireless Internet -- something visitors frequently request, she said -- will be available to the public at the Ysleta branch in the next couple of months. Up to 550 people visit the library a day; Tuesdays and Saturdays are busiest, she said.