Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thoughts on Customer Service: Why We Work in a Public Library

One of the reasons I chose to work in a Public Library, as opposed to a University Library or in a law firm’s library, was the idea of a Free Public Library, i.e., the idea that anyone can use the library with little or no cost. I have been in countries where libraries are limited to those with money, or who are in an exclusive neighborhood or occupation. I love the idea that the knowledge lodged within the Library’s walls is accessible to anyone, and I wanted to be one of the people who opened up the world to others through library resources and programs. The library is not supposed to be exclusive, but inclusive. But if we are inclusive, and welcome all comers, then we who work at the library have to be ready to help all who walk in the doors.

This is not always easy. We get some interesting characters in the library. They come for various reasons—to read, use the computers, check out media, or sometimes just to sit and be safe and out of the elements. If they are not breaking any rules, we welcome them, and I hope that we give them good customer service.

It is easy to give good customer service to those who are like you—someone you can relate to. But how about that young person with multiple body piercings and that interesting tattoo? Or the special needs adult who gets very excited or agitated? Or how about the homeless person who is not the nicest dressed person on the block? I tell my staff that if they can give the best customer service to these “other” people, then they are giving the best service of all. And then sometimes these “different” people give a lot more back to the library.

We’ve had a couple of interesting encounters recently. Both involve people who might be on the fringe of society but who willingly gave of themselves to the library.

The first was a young man who came in asking to do volunteer service here. He was, at first glance, a little odd. He didn’t say much or look you in the eye. But he was eager to volunteer and proved to be very good at what he did. After a while the staff grew to know him and appreciate his hard work. And he began to open up to the staff. He never did say much, and never really looked you in the eye, but we welcomed him. When the staff gave him a birthday card he was so touched he sent a thank you card back. We were sorry to see him go when he reluctantly told us that he had other things he needed to do and couldn’t volunteer here anymore. We told him to come back anytime and help us out. If we had gone with our first impressions of him, we may have turned him away and would have never gotten the benefit of knowing him.

The second case was a homeless man who had been hanging out at the library for sometime. He tended to be dirty and often smelled of alcohol. The staff often had to ask him to leave until he cleaned up. He always came back in, and bit by bit the staff got to know him. One day he asked if he could volunteer. We put him to the task of shelving books and were pleased with his work. He volunteered almost daily and did a good job. He too had begun to respond to the staff and their respectful treatment of him. He was intelligent and had a sense of humor and a great work ethic. He alerted the staff to problems inside and outside the library. Sure there were still days when we would have to remind him where the laundromat was and not to eat or drink inside the building, but he was one of our most productive volunteers.

And he was teaching us a lesson about how we react to those who are different or less fortunate than we are. He was not just someone else’s problem; he was one of the people we are here to serve. He opened our eyes as to how we reacted and treated others, and how much we may miss when we base our views of people only on first impressions.

Thank you to all our volunteers and all of our patrons. You are the reason we are here.

Posted by KS at La F.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

International Space Station New Mexico Flyover

The International Space Station (ISS), hosted by the Johnson Space Center in Houston, is a great site. Here’s the Space station sightings website: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/sightings/index.html Under the Space Station Sightings section you can find out when the ISS will fly over your city. One of the really cool aspects of the website is the Interactive Reference Guide that includes an ISS 360 tour and an up close & personal shuttle docking sequence. In the introduction the speaker calls the ISS…Humanity’s Orbiting Outpost. This is a truly inspiring website. Share it with your kids and friends.

And if you want to host an ISS party, there is a “How to Host a Star Party” section that include decorations, arts & crafts, and even food ideas. The food recipes include treats like Mini Cookie Meteorites and Saturn Sausage Balls. You could even cook these up and go out early in the evening to see the ISS pass by on the horizon here in Santa Fe.

Posted by SS at La Farge

Friday, October 26, 2007

Environment Education Day

The Southside Branch of the Santa Fe Public Library, 6599 Jaguar Drive, will host an Environment Education Day on Saturday, November 3, from 10 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., featuring activities for all ages, including hands on solar displays, climate-related short plays, “ An Inconvenient Truth” slide show, displays and music. Tours of the Southside Branch, the greenest public building in Santa Fe, will take place hourly.

A ribbon cutting will be held at 11:00 a.m. for a collection of library environmental books and materials, which focus on the newly changing aspects of our natural environment. The environmental education resource collection will be available year round for individual and student use. Materials are from the Southside Library collection, which will be supplemented by public donation of funds for new materials.

The Sierra Club will sponsor a CFL light bulb exchange, replacing energy-wasting incandescent light bulbs, starting at Noon. 2000 light bulbs, up to 4 per household, will be traded out. The ATC marimba band will play at Noon.

At 3:00 p.m. Dr. Camilla Bustamante will speak on “Planning a Sustainable Santa Fe.”

The Opening is also a part of the national StepItUp 2 event. For more information call 505-955-2828 or 466-4724
Posted by PCH at Main.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Award Books

By now everyone knows Doris Lessing won The Nobel Prize for Literature; she finally got the big one after winning about every other award out there. I won’t share her initial reaction, as captured by a man with a mike as she stepped out of a London cab. Her official response minutes later was well-crafted and presented in a polite way saying how this was the cream of the crop of awards. But I have to ask, how many of her books since The Golden Notebook have you read?

And The Man Booker Prize went to a long shot, Anne Enright. This Irish writer’s book The Gathering has not been published in the States yet, but the Library will get it as soon as possible. Described as a disturbing look into an Irish family saga, The Gathering, describes suicide, loss and childhood sexual abuse.

Here are the opening lines of The Gathering:

"I would like to write down what happened in my grandmother's house the summer I was eight or nine, but I am not sure if it really did happen. I need to bear witness to an uncertain event. I feel it roaring inside me – this thing that may not have taken place. I don't even know what name to put on it. I think you might call it a crime of the flesh, but the flesh is long fallen away and I am not sure what hurt may linger in the bones.

My brother Liam loved birds and, like all boys, he loved the bones of dead animals. I have no sons myself, so when I pass any small skull or skeleton I hesitate and think of him, how he admired their intricacies. A magpie's ancient arms coming through the mess of feathers; stubby and light and clean. That is the word we use about bones: Clean." (c) Anne Enright 2007

Awards can change writers’ lives. But when looking at new books to purchase, librarians don’t just look for award winners. A wise librarian once told me that librarians have a responsibility when reviewing books for purchase to take a chance on a new writer, give them the boost that may keep them writing. Not every book will be an award winner, but every book has a story to tell and we need to serve as that mentor and guardian of those who write.

Posted by PCH at Main.
cover of book

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Young readers and writers!

Are you in grades 4 through 12? The Library of Congress is sponsoring a competition for you to show off your tastes and writing abilities. The topic is: Authors who have touched your lives in a personal way. You must write a letter to any author explaining how their writing has changed your life or changed the way you view the world.

Winners at the state level will win a $50.00 gift certificate to Target, and national winners will receive a $500.00 gift certificate and a Reading Promotion Grant of $10,000 for your school or public library (wouldn’t that be nice!).

The promotion applies to young readers in grades 4-12. The Deadline for entries is Dec. 14, 2007. To obtain the required entry coupon and a copy of the “how to enter” guidelines, young readers can contact the national program director at http://www.blogger.com/lal@epix.net or visit the L.A.L. webpage at the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/letters.

Posted by SW at Main


“Today’s public libraries are vital community technology hubs that millions of Americans rely on for their first and often only choice for Internet access.” So says a three-year study of Internet connectivity in public libraries called, “Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study 2006-2007”. The study assesses public access to computers, the Internet and Internet-related services in U.S. public libraries, as well as the impact of library funding changes on connectivity, technology deployment and sustainability.

Some key findings of the study are:

• 99% of public libraries offer free access to computers and the Internet.

• 73% of U.S. public libraries report that they are the only source of free public access to computers and the Internet in their communities.

• More than 14 million Americans use free computer and Internet services at their local public library to get an education, find a job, get government information, access e-mail and other increasingly essential tasks.

These findings don’t come as any surprise to us here at the Santa Fe Public Library. Last year, we counted almost 124,000 users at the public computers at our three branches, and we expect the number to rise in years to come. To sign up (same day only) Contact the Main (955-6781), La Farge (955-4862), or Southside Library (955-2820).

The Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study collected data through surveys from more than 4,000 public libraries, more than 40 Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, and focus groups and site visits in Delaware, Maryland, Nevada and Utah. To view the final report, please visit www.ala.org/plinternetfunding.

Submitted by TG at Main Library.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Super Heroes and Graphic Novels

Children and teens, do you think you can draw? Do you want to try it out? Check out the free art workshops offered at the Southside Branch of the Santa Fe Public Library by FACT (Fine Arts for Children & Teens) and sponsored by Friends of the Santa Fe Public Library. Space is limited so you must register. Enrollment is on a first-come first-served basis. All art making materials are provided by FACT.

Please sign up at the Information desk of the Southside Library, 6599 Jaguar Drive. For more information, or to register please call 955-2820.

Create Your Own Comic Super Hero!

For ages 6-8 & 9-12 – come create your own super hero in 2 and 3 dimensions during these two-day workshops.

Ages 6-8 workshops are Thursdays, November 8 & 15 from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Ages 9-12 workshops are Thursdays, November 29 & December 6 from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

To enroll your child, please sign-up in the Children’s Department of the Southside Library. For more information, please contact the Children’s Room at 955-2828.

Graphic Novel & Manga Workshop

Teens, take on the challenge of creating your own graphic novel in this two-day workshop on Graphic Novel & Manga taught by Aline Hunziker, for ages 13-16. Workshops are Thursdays, December 13 & 20 from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Please sign up at the Information desk of the Southside Library. For more information, please contact the Information Desk at 955-2820.

Library a Buzz with Spelling Bee

Can you spell better than a 5th Grader?

38 contestants competed for top spelling honors at the Santa Fe Public Library last weekend. The number almost doubled the number of entrants in 2006. Volunteers and staff of Qforma organized the popular event and raised $880 for the Santa Fe Public Library. Sven Redsun of Qforma organized the event and presented a check from Qforma for $500, as their donation to library programs. Mr. Redsun was a three time winner of the Spelling Bee.

It took 31 correctly spelled words to just reach the sudden death round. The words aorist, zabaglione, tmesis and nacreous helped narrow the field. What I love about this event is that it is written—no standing until asked to sit down in full humiliation. I was a great speller—which has deteriorated over the years and my lack of dictionary use has been aided and abetted by spell check on this very computer. But my bragging rights include only misspelling one word in all of fourth grade through sixth grade spelling bees at Galesburg Elementary school—I will never forget how to spell calvary and cavalry. So close, so close.

The Spelling Bee 2007 prize winners were first place winner Dorothea Migliori, Santa Fe, who quipped, “With a name like that, I had to become a good speller." Other top winners were: second place Daria Labinsky, Corrales; third place Diana Thatcher, Santa Fe. In addition, runners up included Linda Churchill, Tesuque; Elizabeth Lea, Saul Cohen, Marie White and Jack Huberman, all of Santa Fe.

Local businesses generously providing prizes included Qforma, Los Alamos National Bank, Collected Works, Travel Bug, Video Library and Java Joe’s.

I wonder how a fifth grader would have done…

Posted by PCH at Main

Friday, October 12, 2007

Donor Bricks at Southside

What do these names have in common? Cesar Chavez Elementary School, Governor and Mrs. Richardson, Xavier Solares, Pat Mora, and Mary Sidney?

They are etched in the bricks installed in the front walkway at the Southside Branch Library.

And the final donor bricks have been installed! Patrons have to be careful walking up to the entrance to the Southside Branch because other patrons stop suddenly to look at the engraved bricks—some just notice a name they know, others are looking for the names of family and friends. The first set of bricks was installed prior to the March 23 opening day. The remaining bricks arrived last week and are now gracing the entry portal area. So when you come to the Southside Branch of the Santa Fe Public Library, look down before you walk through the doors and see the names of our wonderful supporters. Many thanks to the Friends of the Santa Fe Public Library for their fantastic support and creative projects to support the Library. And thanks to those who bought a brick.

Posted by PS at Southside. Photos by TT at Southside

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Lives of Animals

As a recent convert to vegetarianism, I was intrigued to see this book cross my desk today: The Lives of Animals by J.M. Coetzee, a winner of the Nobel Prize in literature (2003) and two-time winner of the Booker Prize (1983 and 1999). At first I thought this book was composed of nonfiction essays, but it is actually partly fiction with several responsive essays included from other contributors. According to the back cover quote, “The idea of human cruelty to animals so consumes novelist Elizabeth Costello that she can no longer look another person in the eye: humans, especially meat-eating ones, seem to her to be conspirators in a crime of stupefying magnitude.” Wow! How could your interest not be piqued!? Big thanks to the person who donated this to our LaFarge branch!
cover of book

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I guess it’s time to pack away the summer sporting gear for the year. I just couldn’t do it, though, without taking one more weekend trip. This time we’re going south to Elephant Butte with hopes that it’s still warm enough down there to swim outside. We’ll take the kayaks, a couple of good books, and the dog, of course. He likes to ride along in the boat.

Speaking of the dog, he was so excited this morning when he saw me putting on my favorite camping clothes and hiking boots, only to be told he had to stay at home. This time I was dressing for the Preschool Story Time at Southside Branch. We played in the tent, sang camp songs, went on a bear hunt, made a craft, and of course read some stories. FUN! Preschool Story time is ongoing at all three branches: Southside: Wednesdays at 10:30. LaFarge: 10:30 Tuesdays and Main: 10:30 Fridays.

I hope you can get out this weekend too. In case you can’t, I’ll eat a s’more for you!

by LW@SS

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Teen Read Week

Have you ever wanted to find out what makes your favorite author tick? As part of Teen Read Week you can do just that. For 31 days in October you can chat live with your favorite teen author. Check out http://www.readergirlz.com/issue.html for more details. Then go to your local library and read, read, read.

For some great suggestions on what to read, visit http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/teenreading/trw/trw2006/booklists.cfm.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Create Your Own Loaned Art Tour in Santa Fe

The City Arts Commission has just released its “2007 Loaned Art Exhibit” list and locations of 13 pieces of art placed throughout the City. I suggest you print off this list and plan an art tour—it is a quick and simple way to track down the art and actually may take you to a small park or area you have not visited before.

Two pieces are easy to find, one piece is on a patio at the new Southside Branch Library, 6599 Jaguar Road, and the other is in front of the Main Library, 145 Washington Avenue. Greg Robertson’s granite and blown glass sculpture, entitled “Links #2: Purity,” will be on display on the southeast patio of the Southside Library for the next year. “I feel that artwork that is incorporated into our society stimulates a larger appreciation of art in general, and creates a sense of pride and beauty in our cities,” states Robertson.

“Finding Center ,” by Destiny Allison, steel, 97 ½” x 19”x 24”, courtesy of Crossroads Contemporary and the artist, is located at Main Library, 145 Washington Avenue

Why take this list with you? Well, try to read a plaque as you drive on Airport Road or on Alameda without screeching to a halt in traffic and finding a parking place. With your list you can make a plan ( hey, remember we are librarians!), and walk or bike to one of these spots to enjoy the loaned art.

2007 Loaned Art List and Locations:

Finding Center, Destiny Allison, steel, 97 ½” x 19”x 24”, courtesy of Crossroads Contemporary and the artist, located at the Main Library, 145 Washington Avenue

Links #2: Purity, Greg Robertson, granite and blown glass, 80” x 19” by 115’, courtesy of Two Pears Gallery and the artist, located at the Southside Branch Library, 6599 Jaguar Drive.

Lehra’s Cowlick, Alex Barrett, powder coated aluminum, 7’8” x 5’6” x 4’8”, courtesy of Nussbaumer Fine Aart Gallery and the artist, to be located at the intersection of St. Francis Drive and Agua Fria Street

Fat Happy on Stairs, Barrett DeBusk, steel, 86” x 56”, courtesy of The William and Joseph Gallery and the artist, located at Pueblos del Sol Park, Governor Miles Road at Nizhoni Drive

Manta Mama, Bob Haozous, steel, 4’ x 4’8” x 10’, courtesy of the artist, located at Alto Park, on West Alameda across from Solano Center

American Rocker, Bob Haozous, steel, 7’1” x 6’ x 13’8”, courtesy of the artist, located at Alto Park, on West Alameda across from Solano Center

Zen Form, Bob Haozous, steel, 20’x 8’x 2’5”, courtesy of the artist, to be located at Ragle Park, on Zia Road near the intersection of Yucca Road

Kelp Forest, Helmut Hillenkamp, mild steel, 2’ x 1’ x 5’, courtesy of the artist, located on the Arroyo Chamiso Trail at Yucca Road crossing

TIME MARKER: Love on a Pedestal, Dean Howell, glazed ceramic and welded steel, 2’ x 2’ x 9’, courtesy of the artist, located at the Alta Vista Walkway on St. Francis Drive just south of Alta Vista Street

TIME MARKER: Love on a Pillar, Dean Howell, polychromed ceramic and welded steel, 22” x 36” x 76”, courtesy of the artist, located at the Alta Vista Walkway on St. Francis Drive just south of Alta Vista Street

Slow Climb into Space, Dean Howell, polished steel and natural stone, 3’ x 3’ x 9’ 5”, courtesy of the artist, located at Amelia White Park, Old Santa Fe Trail and Camino Corrales

Be-Bop, Don Kennell, ceramic tile and steel, dimensions unknown, courtesy of the artist, to be located on the southeast lawn of City Hall, 200 Lincoln Avenue

Shaman, Dana O’Donnell, limestone, stainless steel and antler, 84” x 4” x 31”, courtesy of the artist, located in Patrick Smith Park on Canyon Road

Loan proposals are accepted year-round through the Loaned Art Program. However, the annual exhibit is juried in July or August of each year. All submissions are reviewed by the Art in Public Places which considers artistic quality, compatibility with the site, public safety, and environmental impact, along with other factors, as they curate the exhibit. Artists or galleries interested in participating in the Loaned Art Program may contact the Arts Commission at 505-955-6707 for more information.
By PS at Southside and PCH at Main

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Biblioholics Anonymous

Of all the “-holics “ one could be, being a biblioholic is probably only dangerous to your bank account and the cost of purchasing more shelving for your home. That is biblio as in books. I probably should be in a program that will help me with my addiction, but I am unwilling to go. Ah, books. There is nothing as delightful as a well-made book with perhaps deckled pages or a special leather binding, or sigh, marbled end pages. The craft in old books is a joy to see and to hold. And then there is the cachet of who might have owned the book and how it managed to survive through the years.

A used book store in Colorado shared that there were closet biblioholics, young people willing to spend their limited discretionary income on a rare 1600’s book or a page from an illuminated manuscript. Never mind that they lived in the equivalent of a woodshed with electricity.

Coming up in Santa Fe October 5 and 6 is a new Santa Fe Antiquarian Book Fair. A group of local booksellers has organized a book fair, which they hope will not only satiate book lovers, but put Santa Fe on the map as the book capital of the Southwest.

The event will be held at El Museo Cultural, 1615 Paseo de Peralta. The event includes approximately 30 dealers in rare and antiquarian books. On Saturday several authors, including John Nichols, Marc Simmons, Jacqueline Orsini, Martha Egan and Tom Chavez will be available to meet the public. The book fair is being organized by Henry Lewis of Gunstock Hill Books, Shirley Jacobson of Books Unlimited, Rita Robbins, and Steve Kalminson of Maya Jones Books.

The event will be held from 4:00-9:00 p.m. on Friday and 10:00 a.m. -6:00 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, call Henry Lewis at (505) 983-0088 or e-mail gunstockhillbook@aol.com.

In the age of computers, ipods, blackberries and other electronic gadgets, the book is still in vogue. I think I am in trouble; can I get an advance on my allowance?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Santa Fe Public Library Now Accepting Applications from Local Artists for Exhibits

The Southside Branch and the Main Library are accepting applications from local artists for consideration for exhibits. The Santa Fe Public Library is proud of its commitment to local artists in providing a venue for exhibiting their art.

The Southside Branch, is located at 6599 Jaguar Drive. To be considered for a month show in 2007-2008, the artist must be eligible for a Santa Fe Public Library card, living in Santa Fe or Santa Fe County. To reserve your place to meet with the exhibit committee, call Christina Dunkin at 955-2820. The Art Exhibit committee will meet with artists on Tuesday, October 16, at 4:00 p.m. at the Southside Branch Library. Artists who are signed up are asked to bring three representative pieces of their work for review. Paintings as well as photographic exhibits will be considered. The Library also has glass cases for three dimensional work.

The Main Library, 145 Washington Avenue, is also holding its Art Exhibit Committee for review of art on Wednesday, October 3rd, at 2:00 p.m. Artists are welcome to come and bring their art for consideration. The Main Library holds exhibits in the Tybie Satin Davis Gallery and also has glass exhibit cases for three dimensional pieces. For more information call 955-6720.

Exhibit agreement forms are available at the reference desks at all libraries. Potential exhibitors are encouraged to view the exhibit space prior to signing up.