By Lance Chilton, APLF Board Member
If you’re looking for a beautifully-designed, quiet library branch, you can’t do better than the Alamosa Branch Library, perhaps a little too well hidden on Albuquerque’s West Side, at 6900 Gonzales SW. Sweeping curved windows in front and back give fine views of the Sandia Mountains to the east and of the West Mesa to the west.
Branch manager Nicholas Newlin aims to make the library a center for the community surrounding it, especially for teens looking to better their fortunes through better test performance and college admission and adults seeking jobs. That’s not to dismiss younger children, who he hopes will find literacy resources (adults too!) at the 17-year old branch library; the little kids come for story times, especially for the Tuesday morning story hours attended by the YDI Head Start classrooms in the same complex. Mr. Newlin noted that the youngest patrons get a boost when they are exposed to literacy before entering school.
Other libraries in the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County System are co-located with other community services (the Palo Duro Senior Center is across the parking lot for the Erna Fergusson Library and the North Valley Public Health Office and First Choice clinic are in the same complex as the Rudolfo Anaya/North Valley Library). However, there is nothing to compare with the closely linked tenants of the Alamosa Community Center: its library, its First Choice clinic, its WIC Center, its early development center, its gyms and computer rooms, to name a few.
In September 2018, the entire Alamosa Community Center was renamed in honor of long-time community activist Ted M. Gallegos, who certainly would have approved of the linked services. Another life-long community activist, Diana Powdrell-Yonker, who grew up in the area and now manages the First Choice health clinic in the center, spoke fondly and protectively of the library and its importance to the people of the neighborhood and beyond. She was pleased to meet Mr. Newlin; the two plan to share their passion for literacy through loans of books from the library and cross-referral of patients/patrons.
The Alamosa library serves many young families, as well as retirees, but Mr. Newlin sees the need for further extension into the community, including to the Alamosa Elementary School down the hill across a pleasant park. Mr. Newlin sees the importance of promoting literacy, especially with books on paper, though the library offers as well the many electronic services available through our libraries.
Prior to working at Alamosa, Nicholas Newlin worked at the Main Library alongside Director of Collections and Community Engagement Linda Morgan Davis after coming to Albuquerque two years ago. Fluent in Spanish, which is useful in a part of town inhabited by many who prefer that language (the library prominently displays many Spanish-language materials), Mr. Newlin has spent time as a librarian in Latin America. From Denver, he received his bachelor’s degree in history at the University of Colorado, and his Master’s in Library Science at the University of Maryland. He and his wife and two school-aged children enjoy their new home town, bicycling and reading; he is a vocal proponent of the ABQ&A’s recent campaign to “Stop Bagging, Start Bragging” about our city.
What happens 20 to 25 times a month at eight library branches throughout Albuquerque? What brings together man’s best friends and young children at those branches? And what literacy intervention has a strong research basis? The surprising answer to each of these questions is the library’s Read to the Dogs program. Mixing placid, well-trained therapy dogs and young children seems to work.
Although the idea of reading to a mute animal may at first blush seem strange, studies have shown that the judgment-free setting allows children to express themselves to an appreciative audience and to improve their reading skills. Cheryl Mugleston, who originated the program in 2002 at the Main Library downtown and is now at the Lomas Tramway Library and has shepherded its growth to its current size, enjoys watching children come into their own as readers. In a study done at the University of California Davis, public school third-graders showed a 12% increase in reading fluency after ten weeks of reading to dogs, while home-schooled children showed a whopping 30% increase in fluency. Comments made by the kids and parents in Davis included the following:
“I feel relaxed when I am reading to a dog because I am having fun.”
“I felt like I was reading out loud faster and better.”
“I have noticed that he now reads because he wants to, not because he has to.”
“My daughter reads aloud a lot more than she used to.”
“My son now reads aloud to his little brother. I love that.”
It’s not just any dog who comes to the eight libraries to be read to: these are therapy dogs selected by one of three agencies, Alliance of Therapy Dogs, Southwest Canine Corps of Volunteers, and Warm Hearts Network. Their owners come with them, and they too are trained to be supportive and nonjudgmental. They enjoy watching the children blossom in the protected environment of a warm library and a warm animal.
Ms. Mugleston tells me that “Volunteer dog owners are very patient people; they love to interact with kids, not correcting the kids, letting them go at their own pace. She has particularly enjoyed seeing served children maintain their reading skills during the long summer vacation, during which many children’s abilities in this and other areas slide.
The library’s website, https://abqlibrary.org/readtothedogs, is full of excellent information about the program, a schedule for Read to the Dogs sessions, and a link to the UC-Davis research. A longer review of the generally very positive literature about the effects of reading to the dogs can be found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/ PMC4763282/.
Do Albuquerqueans like it? “Arf, arf!”
By Lance Chilton, APLF Board Member
I arrived at the East Mountain Library in Tijeras just a few hours before an awaited blizzard, and left before the snow began to fall, and some months before the library celebrates its 25th anniversary in October. The mountain community members that use the library were smarter than I, so few were in the library – probably they were viewing the oncoming clouds from a seat by the fire, cradling a warm drink and a good book.
The East Mountain library is the only one of the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Library system’s branches that lies east of the range made up by the Manzanos and Sandias; a sign very close to the library welcomes the traveler to Tijeras, elevation 6300 feet (for reference, Albuquerque’s Main Library sits at 4988 feet and the Lomas Tramway Library is at 5765 feet). It serves a mountain community stretching north along New Mexico 14 and south on NM 337 (formerly known as South 14), and east along Interstate 40 toward Edgewood, which has its own library.
“Mountain people are special,” branch manager Lynne Fothergill enthuses, “Selfsufficient, independent; they like doing their own catalog research.” Most of the library’s patrons are well-known to her after four years managing the library – most greet the friendly librarians as they come and go, but only a few need assistance in finding their reading material.
The spacious, bright, and airy library serves the needs of its community well – the teen corner is available for the middle school kids who cross the street (Old Route 66) each school day from Roosevelt Middle School. Also, to meet community interests, the library stocks books on homesteading issues from beekeeping to water issues. There is an extensive collection of videos for cold, snowy winter evenings.
Ms. Fothergill explained the floating collection (where books and other checked out material remains at the branch to which they are returned), and how it is tweaked to fit the needs of a local population. Librarians use a program called Collection HQ to find out what items are getting lots of use and which get little use at each of the branches. So if beekeeping books are getting little use at the Cherry Hills Library, and Spanishlanguage books get little attention in Tijeras, requests for relocation can be made to maximize each branch’s collections for its users.
The East Mountain Library further serves its community by posting notices of community events. In addition, it daily or even more frequently posts notices of extreme weather or of other natural concerns, such as the Dog Head Fire of 2016 that caused the evacuation of many homes south of Tijeras.
On a much happier note, the library has many attractions for children, from a preschool story time to a Read to the Dogs weekly program to a yearly Harry Potter extravaganza. All of these are presided over by enthusiastic children’s librarian Krystal Webb, whose first library card at age 5 was right here at East Mountain. Krystal takes on various personae during the annual event that spills through the two large children’s rooms at the library and out onto the protected patio just to the south of the children’s room windows.
Krystal is also responsible for the imaginative decoration of the two rooms: to the north, the room looks like a mountain scene, replete with animals mountain children might see and trees from all four seasons; the south room is decorated like a jungle, again with jungle plants and animals on top of bookshelves and dripping from the ceiling. Krystal started out in the hospitality industry and then quickly shifted to bringing hospitality skills to the library system. Her hospitality degree is from New Mexico State University, and her master’s in library science degree was earned at the University of North Texas. Krystal feels very much at home at the East Mountain Library, not only because she has been a patron there for many years, but also because she loves hiking, backpacking and climbing in the mountains. She’s also a natural in the children’s area, enjoying taking Young Adult novels, fantasy, and magic works home, and being one of the first to review new picture books that arrive in her mountain/jungle domain.
What brings balloons, race cars, ancient pueblo ruins and even more ancient dinosaurs, scientific experiments, Civil War era forts, and atomic bombs together? Or better, perhaps, what can bring you and your family together with any one of these?
The answer is the Museum Discovery Pass Program at your public library – all of your public libraries except for the Special Collection Branch. You may have seen the passes hanging from a placard at the information desk of your favorite library branch. There are eight different passes, each available to a family on a first come, first served basis for seven days:
Though all of these wonderful cultural institutions are worth supporting financially, many families can’t afford the cost when stretching to cover food, shelter, clothing and educational expenses. Other families may not know what they’re missing, so the chance to visit the first time without charge may give them the impetus to go another time, once they recognize the wonders of what we have to offer at these great Albuquerque assets.
And it’s not just Albuquerque; though the other seven passes cover one great site each within the city, the New Mexico Family Pass alone entitles a family to visit any of 15 state museums and monuments. Two of these are in Albuquerque, the NM Museum of Natural History and Science and the National Hispanic Cultural Center, one is just outside the city (Coronado Historic Site), but several wonderful Santa Fe museums are included and historic sites as far away as the El Camino Real Historic Trail Site south of Socorro and Forts Stanton, Selden and Sumner, the Jemez and Lincoln Historical Sites, and the Las Cruces Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.
Linda Morgan Davis, Assistant Director of Collections and Community Engagement and originator of the wonderful program, notes that “We have a great partnership with local museums that extends our vision to bring opportunities for knowledge, learning and achievement to our customers and community. This program adds just one more value to owning a library card.”
The rules for the passes are a little different than for most other library material to be checked out: you can’t reserve them or request them on line or by phone – you just have to look for them at a branch; if they’re hanging on the placard, you can check them out for a week. The loan period is shorter than for other materials, to provide more availability to families. This is a very popular program and the library has a limited number of passes available. The library purchases the passes from each museum using library material funds.
“Our users are very diverse,” Florence Sablan, branch manager for the San Pedro Library, told me recently. “From college professors to people experiencing homelessness, they find it a safe place,” where they can use computers or “just read.” Families with small children and nonagenarians alike find the homey space to their liking. The library is tucked into a tree-shaded block in the International District at the corner of San Pedro and Trumbull.
Albuquerque, the Magazine solicits opinions each year about the best in lots of diverse categories: its promotional piece online says “2018 Best of the City Awards: The best margarita in town. The best haircut in town. The best view of the city. The best. The best. The best.”
It is unlikely that any of Albuquerque’s libraries makes the best margarita or gives the best haircut, but we’re proud that the Cherry Hills Library came out on top in the “best storytime" competition.
Kudos, thanks, and congratulations to Cherry Hills librarians Mercedes Encinitas and Laura Leon, pictured here!
The All of Us Research Program brought the Future of Health to Albuquerque.
The Albuquerque Public Library recently hosted the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Journey, a traveling, hands-on exhibit that raises awareness about the All of Us Research Program. The All of Us Journey was in our community from November 26th through December 7th.
The All of Us Research Program aims to speed up health research and medical breakthroughs. To do so, All of Us is asking 1 million volunteers to share different types of health and lifestyle information—information like where they live, what they do, and their family health history.
The program is open to people both healthy and sick, from all communities. Unlike a single research study focused on a specific disease or community, the All of Us Research Program will create a research resource to inform thousands of studies, covering a wide range of health conditions. This information could help researchers learn more about different diseases and treatments and improve health for generations to come.
To learn more about the All of Us Research Program, please visit JoinAllofUs.org.
Hampton Sides, noted author, was well received on the evening of November 1st at the KiMo Theatre in the “A Word with Writers" event sponsored by Bookworks and benefitting the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation. After a slide presentation giving background on the book, On Desperate Ground, he graciously autographed books for audience members.
Rayme Romanik, MD, recently joined the APLF Board. She retired this year after working 35 years as a medical consultant for the Social Security Disability Program, serving as its Chief Medical Consultant for New Mexico for the past 20 years.
Dr. Romanik served on the Board of Directors of All Faiths Receiving Home, Jewish Family Services, as was a volunteer librarian at Temple Albert. She is married to Allan Boyar and together they have 4 children, 5 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren. They enjoy travel, photography, tennis, skiing, golf, and, of course, reading.
By Lance Chilton, Board Member
I’m sitting at my desk, listening to two sweet voices, accompanied by a guitarist and a ukulele player, from a CD playing on my computer as I type. The singers, the instrumentalists, and the subject of what I’m typing are all the same: Judy and Michael Muldawer. They’re also the same couple who have very generously donated collections of ukuleles and instruction books to several of Albuquerque’s library branches through the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation.
If you are age 70 1/2 or older and have an Independent Retirement Account (IRA), you have reached that milestone where you must take a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). The distribution may increase your taxable income and require you to pay taxes on this previously untaxed asset.
If you do not need all or part of the distribution, or it will cause unwanted tax repercussions, you may be interested in the IRA Charitable Rollover. The IRA Charitable Rollover, also known as a Qualified Charitable Distribution, allows you to gift your RMD to charity, which omits the distribution from your income and allows you to avoid paying the tax. Questions? Talk with your financial advisor.
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
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!
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.