On a warm summer morning, Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Library Director Dean Smith received a visitor in his light, pleasant office on the second floor of the Main Library. Dean is busy, and that’s an understatement. He receives hundreds of emails daily and attends multiple meetings, all related to his responsibilities for our library system.
After a national search, Dean was selected to be the library director in 2010. He came to Albuquerque in 2008. A native of Indiana, he thought it was time for him to come to the Southwest. Previous jobs after his 1987 graduation with a Masters in Library Science from the University of Indiana at Bloomington, had taken him to much different climes in much larger cities: New York City and London, England. He began his tenure with our system serving as the Assistant Director in charge of public services.
After receiving his degree in librarianship, Dean’s varied experience prepared him well for assuming the director’s position. In New York, where he was hired immediately after receiving his M.L.S. degree and stayed for fifteen years, Dean experienced life in a sampling of the city system’s 90 branches (the city, having about 16 times as large a population as Albuquerque, has three systems – one for Manhattan, one for Brooklyn, and one for Queens) largely as a children’s librarian. In London, he worked in one of the large city’s local districts, Southwark. There, for five years, he worked on development, including applying for and administering grants, and on early childhood literacy projects.
“I got tired of London’s six-hour days [in winter]!” Dean noted. He had been in Tucson to visit family and liked the Southwest, so the attraction of a job in Albuquerque and its warmer, dryer, less cloudy weather, contrasted to London’s, was great.
He assumed the job as library director in 2011, moving into his second-floor office and directing the library system and its eighteen branches, while becoming an integral part of the Cultural Services Division of Albuquerque city government. He supervises a workforce including 40 professional librarians and many more paraprofessionals, clerical staff, and pages. Each branch is supervised by a librarian; each is part of a region with a regional head – for example, Central-Unser branch librarian Mary Sue Houser is in charge of her own library as well as supervising the Westgate and Alamosa branches. The regional system works well, Dean says, in allowing for coverage when a staff member is ill or on vacation, and also provides mentoring for some of the less senior members of the library staff.
Albuquerque’s libraries are less well-funded, per capita, than comparable cities in the Southwest. Since a large portion of the cost of keeping libraries open is due to personnel, Albuquerque’s system keeps afloat by relying on technology. These technological advances free paraprofessional and professional library staff for what they’re really good at: working with customers and finding what is needed, whether in the form of a book or video or CD, or an on-line resource.
Dean commented on the recent OrangeBoy survey of our library’s use by patrons, which the library commissioned. OrangeBoy offers consultant services to cultural institutions, libraries and other businesses to polish their services. He said that the results defied predictions by library staff and others in many ways, including showing that library use peaked in the 10-14 year old and 25-44 year old demographics, while many predicted that young children and the elderly would show up as most common users. He speculated that the very young and the very old ask many more questions of library personnel than those in the middle, who use the library frequently, but briefly and in a self-service mode.
Recent surveys indicate that only 19 per cent of Americans read for pleasure. Dean noted that reading for pleasure is the focus of the summer reading program – pleasure, not quantity or even quality of the books, not comprehension, but enjoyment, hoping to increase the proportion of Albuquerqueans who read for pleasure. There’s a new library in the works in the International District just east of Louisiana and Central. Dean lauded the process of taking input from the community surrounding the library, which will result in the new space having more classrooms, more study rooms, more tables and chairs for interactions between community members and between community members and the library’s collection. If funding can be found, he hopes the library can be made energy-independent and carbon-neutral, using Albuquerque’s abundant sunlight. This would not have been possible much of the year in London, and only possibly so in New York City. Those cities’ loss (of Dean Smith) are this community’s gain
The NNLM has partnered with the NIH All of Us Research Program to build the NNLM All of Us Community Engagement Network. This partnership has extended a large grant to select public libraries across the country as it aims to improve health literacy, engage local communities, and raise awareness about the All of Us program for populations underrepresented in biomedical research.
Albuquerque has been chosen as a target city to host the All of Us Community Engagement Network. The Public Libraries of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County are leading the way with their new Health Educator, Katherine Spotswood, who is working to bring information about the All of Us mission by providing health resources and education in all of our libraries. Stay tuned for upcoming health education programming brought to you by the partnership between The Albuquerque Public Library Foundation and All of Us.
Katherine Spotswood is a long time New Mexico resident with a passion for teaching health and wellness. Katherine has her Master’s Degree in Kinesiology from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi with and emphasis in exercise science and sport nutrition. Katherine also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Psychology from Eastern New Mexico University. Her experience in providing health education is extensive as she worked at a medical weight loss clinic while living in Texas, as well as being a NCSF certified personal trainer and NCSF certified sport nutrition specialist for the last 3 years. Katherine is very excited for her new role as Health Educator for The Public Libraries of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, and is thrilled for the opportunity to bring a whole new set of programming centered on promoting health and wellness in this community.
For more information or to view up-coming events visit: abqlibrary.org/AllofUs
Bookworks and the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation will present their bi-annual literary fundraiser, A Word with Writers, with Santa Fe author Hampton Sides, on tour for his new book, On Desperate Ground. The event will be on Thursday, November 1, 2018, 7 p.m. at the KiMo Theatre.
Tickets will admit two and include one signed hardcover and a donation to the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation. They will be on sale later this summer..
On Thursday, March 22, 2018, Paul Mondragon, the Market President of Bank of America, New Mexico, visited the Tony Hillerman Library during story hour to encourage young children to read. In recent months Bank of America generously donated $6000 to the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation to buy furniture and supplies for early literacy centers at Los Griegos and Tony Hillerman public libraries. The centers are designed to provide a safe and inviting space for young children to develop cognitive, social and language skills needed for success in school.
The Early Childhood Literacy Centers encourage positive parent/child interactions to foster reading readiness skills. A large rocking chair in each library is the perfect place for a young child to sit with his/her parent and learn the magic of printed words and story books. Child-sized tables, chairs and bookcases encourage children to linger and solve puzzles, draw a picture, play a game or participate in a science experiment.
It is with great appreciation that the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation partners with Bank of America to invest in the future of our young children. Learning to read is one of life’s great gifts that keeps on giving. APLF looks forward to more partnerships with Bank of America as we work together to invest in a bright and literate Albuquerque. If your company would like to partner with the foundation, please contact us or phone at 505-553-1074.
Thanks to Sandia National Laboratories/ Honeywell for their 2018 financial support for Code Clubs for Teens for the second year in a row. This series of 90-minute monthly programs is held at several branch libraries in the library system. The Code Club meets 3 goals:
Bernalillo County has named the North Valley Library after renowned New Mexican Rudolfo Anaya, author of Bless Me Ultima and many other books.
In celebration of the American Library Association’s Teen Tech Week 2017, the library staff conducted a book trailer contest sponsored by the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation.
Book Trailers are similar to movie trailers or previews, but they promote books instead of films. Book trailers are made to encourage people to read a particular book or novel. they give an audience a sense of what a book is about without giving away too many details. A Book Trailer is not a book review or a book report.
The winners are posted here for you to enjoy. Click on the links to appreciate the skills of Albuquerque's tech savvy teen readers!
The Albuquerque Public Library Foundation & Bookworks presented Luis Urrea, The House of Broken Angels at the KiMo Theatre on March 14, 2018.
A Word with Writers, with Santiago Vaquera-Vasquez, moderator.
Hailed by National Public Radio as a “literary badass” and a “master storyteller with a rock and roll heart” Luis Alberto Urrea is a prolific and acclaimed writer who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss and triumph.
A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his landmark work of nonfiction The Devil's Highway, Luis Alberto Urrea is also the bestselling author of the novels The Hummingbird’s Daughter, Into the Beautiful North, and Queen of America, as well as the story collections The Water Museum.
He has won the Lannan Literary Award, an Edgar Award, and a 2017 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, he lives outside of Chicago and teaches at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
“Urrea is unstintingly, unironically, and unselfconsciously tender…. His pages slip past effortlessly, with the amber glow of slides in a magic lantern.” New York Times Book Review
In a recent article in Construction Reporter author Garry Bollard writes that a new Albuquerque library is set for a historic site in a unique district.
“For decades, music and dance lovers from around New Mexico and the larger region of the west made their way to the famous Caravan East Night Club.”
Located at 7605 Central Avenue NE the nightclub, billed as “America’s Finest Western Club,” was host to a variety of performers including Charlie Pride and Al Hurricane, finally closing its doors for good last December.
Albuquerque’s first circulating ukulele collection became available at the Juan Tabo Library at a packed house launch event on September 16, 2017.
Judy and Mike Muldawer, who donated the ukuleles to the library system, introduced the instruments to an excited crowd of musicians and would be musicians by teaching them three chords. With a little practice, these chords became a complete song that was rendered by those lucky enough to be first to check out a ukulele and those who had brought their own instruments. The rest of us sang along, enjoyed refreshments and a great time was had by all!
Ten brand new ukuleles along with instructions and music are now available for checkout at the Juan Tabo Library. There may be a waiting list as they are very popular.
Sign-ups on Amazon and with your Smith's reward card help the Library Foundation.
When you shop on Amazon, the company will make a donation to the Foundation. All you have to do is sign up at smile.amazon.com. Select The Albuquerque Public Library Foundation as your charitable organization and shop as usual. Make sure you start all subsequent shopping sessions the same way. The shopping experience is identical to the regular Amazon site: same selection, same prices. (Some products are not eligible for the donation.)
If you shop at Smith's, get a rewards card or update your existing one at www.smithscommunityrewards.com. Register to create an account. After you create your account, you fill in the name of your desired charity, The Albuquerque Public Library Foundation, or # 72646. Then, every time you use your card, the Foundation will benefit. In 2014, the Foundation received more than $700 from Smith's. Your registration will not affect coupons or gas rebates. Select “Albuquerque Public Library Foundation” from the drop-down list.
Museum Passes: The library system’s Museum Discovery Pass Program offers library cardholders free passes to local museums and cultural institutions. Click here for more details.
Every Child Ready to Read: "Books are a uniquely portable magic," said Stephen King. Daily story times for all ages. Click here for a printable weekly storytime schedule and tips for reading with your children.
Recurring Events: Adult chess, book clubs, Gizmo Garage, computer training, eResources, study guides, audio books are in your neighborhood library or one nearby. Click here to search the your area of interest and location.