A poet-librarian has been chosen to head the Val Verde County Library.
Illinois native David R. Bond began work Monday, but he is no stranger to Del Rio.
“I got here through my wife. My wife, Aurora Lenay Strick; her mother, Elida Fernandez, who they say was the prettiest girl at San Felipe High School, grew up in Del Rio. She married an airman from Laughlin Air Force Base and moved to Illinois, where my wife was born.
“As a young girl, Aurora visited Del Rio with relatives, and as she will tell you, her heart is still in Del Rio. I got to know Aurora, and we were married 10 years ago at San Antonio’s McNay Art Institute, where Aurora, an expert in costumes, was working with the Tobin collection of theater arts,” Bond said.
“Time has passed, and we visited Del Rio several times. She still has family here, and we promised ourselves someday we were going to come and live here permanently, because I loved it too,” he added.
Bond, originally from Pana, Ill., is a published poet, the author of two full-length books of poetry, “Colors” and “American Chicken.” His poetry has also been published in several chapbooks: “309 Garza Street,” “Trespass Visions,” “The Slaughterhouse of Love” and “The Light That Shatters Darkness.”
After a stint in the Illinois National Guard, Bond worked as a newspaper writer and a substitute teacher, before going to work as the warehouse manager of a coal mine.
“I’ve come a curious direction. I’ve had many jobs, and the last major job I had, when I had a growing family at the time, was at a coal mine, for a coal company, and I ran the warehouse above the mine. It was hard work, and I did that for almost 18 years until the mine closed down. I wrote a lot of poetry during that time, because I was on the midnight shift, and I had some time,” he said.
Bond next went to work for the Morris Library of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill.
and stayed there for almost 20 years. He retired in 2018, and Bond said he and his wife once again began talking about Del Rio.
“When the position (of county librarian) opened up earlier this year, I thought, ‘My gosh, that would be amazing,’ since we want to come here anyway, so I applied and to my delight, I got the job, and I’m here,” Bond said.
As a writer, Bond said he has always been drawn to “libraries, books and reading.”
“When I was young, my parents would take me to the library. We lived way outside of town, and they would bring me in to the Carnegie Library in my home town of Pana, Ill. Those are fond memories. I always gravitated toward the written word, English major in college and poetry. I just enjoy everything having to do with books,” Bond said.
Bond earned a master of science in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master of fine arts in creative writing from Southern Illinois University.
Bond said his first priority at the county library will be familiarizing himself with its day-to-day operations.
“Right now, I’m getting familiar with the people who work here and what they do, becoming familiar with the summer programs that are coming up. I’m going to be talking to the people who are running those programs. I’m also going to be working with the staff throughout the day to see what they’re doing,” he said.
Bond said he wants to welcome all of the area’s residents to visit the county library.
“I want people to know the importance I place on a library in a community, and the fact that I want everybody to know that it’s their library. As my wife says, Del Rio is her heart, and I think this library is the heart of Del Rio in a lot of ways, so I want to invite everyone to come by and see what it’s all about,” Bond said.