Expanding expectations


As the Bosque Farms Public Library prepares to reopen after a temporary closure of nearly a month, the newly expanded building exudes a comforting smell — a melange of new carpet and old books.

A ground breaking last September marked the beginning of a 2,000-square-foot addition to the building, and at 10 a.m., Monday, March 11, the library will be back in the lending swing of things.

Julia M. Dendinger-News-Bulletin photo: Bosque Farms Librarian Amanda Vigil says the newly expanded public library in the village will have additional computer stations for patrons, as well as room for summer reading programs and a story hour.

Julia M. Dendinger-News-Bulletin photo: Bosque Farms Librarian Amanda Vigil says the newly expanded public library in the village will have additional computer stations for patrons, as well as room for summer reading programs and a story hour.

Librarian Amanda Vigil said patrons will notice a minor rearrangement of the main adult reading stacks and the new, compact computer desks for the library’s six computer stations.

They will probably also notice the new coat of paint on the walls, the brand new carpet underfoot and the new, quiet reading room on their way to the new part of the building.

The new portion of the library is on the south side of the existing building, and can be accessed a number of ways. There are two doors leading out of the old part of the library — one through the reading room and a second directly from the stacks for when the reading room is occupied.

Or patrons can enter the addition directly through glass double doors on the east side. Light flows across the new space from east to west, highlighting the easy access to the park on the west side of the building.

Vigil said with the additional space, the library can add programs such as story hours and give its summer reading program participants more room.

“We just couldn’t have things like a story hour before. There wasn’t room,” Vigil said. “I would like to bring in programs for younger and older kids, something for everyone.”

Bosque Farms Mayor Bob Knowlton said the village will host an official grand opening of the new addition later this spring.

“This is a great space. We have a drop-down screen we can use for summer movie nights,” Knowlton said. “I would like to see this used in the evenings and weekends for other kinds of events, like conferences and training seminars. It’s great that this is adjacent to the park — it’s a little hidden gem back here — so things can kind of spill out into the park.”

The mayor said the new space still needs furnishing and window treatments.

Julia M. Dendinger-News-Bulletin photo: Bosque Farms Public Library aide Maggie Geddes, left, and library volunteer Marianne Lynch, right, re-shelve books in the children’s area in preparation for the building’s reopening Monday. The library has been closed since Feb. 18, as construction on a 2,000-square-foot expansion was completed.

“With the sprucing up in the old part and the new part, this will be a brand new library,” he said.

The library literally began its life in a closet in the village’s administrative building. Eventually the books outgrew the space, so the only recourse was the build of a library.

In February 1981, village residents held the first fundraiser for the library — hot air balloon rides.

The Valencia County Women’s Club was a driving organization behind the project, helping to host ice cream socials complete with entertainment from the Los Lunas High School Jazz Band, discos and swim-a-thons in an indoor pool on Esperanza Drive that was demolished long ago.

Work started in October 1983, and in July 1984, a 1,024-square-foot building was completed. Four years later, the Friends of the Library raised $20,000, and with the addition of state funds, a 1,750-square-foot addition was built.

The new addition will add on another 2,000 square feet to the library, which includes bathrooms and storage space.

The village received $260,000 from the state Legislature in 2010, but the architectural firm hired to do the building design said there wasn’t enough money to build the expansion the village wanted, Knowlton said.

In the 2012 session, legislators allocated an additional $130,000 to the project. Knowlton recognized former state representative David C. Chavez (R-7) and Rep. Kiki Saavedra (D-10) and former state Sen. David Ulibarri (D-30) and Sen. Michael Sanchez (D-29) for their assistance in securing the funding.

A month after the ground breaking last fall, Vigil took the position of librarian.

To paint and carpet the old part of the building, all of the shelves and books had to be removed, Vigil said. It took about two days to take everything out, Knowlton said, but more than a week of hard work by dedicated volunteers to put the nearly 20,000 books back.

The juvenile and children’s books have been separated into distinct collections, and the young adult materials are now in a separate room, with two comfy chairs and a table to spread research material out on.

Vigil said she is looking forward to bringing in the new programs Knowlton mentioned to the library — story hour and crafts, the summer reading program from June 17 to July 17 and movie nights this summer.

And with the computer stations better arranged, Vigil said later this year, the library will begin hosting basic computer skills courses.

“Things like how to check your email,” she said. “We have a lot of elderly people in our community. I think something like that would be welcome and useful.”

Vigil asked for any patrons who checked out books before the library’s closure in February to please return them as soon as possible.

“The library is very well used,” she said. “We have 7,944 patrons from all across Valencia County.”

She extended a special thanks to the library staff, Maggie Geddes, Wyn Sanchez, Marianne Lynch and Linda Lamont, for all their hard work during the construction, and also a “thank you” to Mayor Bob Knowlton, village staff Gayle Jones, Bill Lindberg, Debra Kelly and Cheryl Hibdon for their support during the project.

Vigil said everyone in the village’s maintenance department — James Padilla, Emilio Flores, Joe Mestas and Ruston Richards — who went above and beyond to make the library beautiful.

“This is the best job ever. I’m looking forward to growing the library,” she said. “And I’m excited to see what the public thinks of the new space.”

-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.