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Espanola Public Library Re-opens Following Renovation

Espanola Re-opens 2

State Librarian Kathleen Peiffer with Espanola Public Library Director Sherry Aragon.

On April 11, 2016, the Espanola Public Library held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the re-opening of the library. On hand were State Library staff, including State Librarian  Kathleen Peiffer.

The event celebrated the new changes to the library, which included new carpet and new windows. Great to see investment in our public libraries!

An interview with the Sherry Aragon, Director

Q: What were the renovations that were done?
A: Renovations that were done to the Española Public Library were:

  • New public restrooms
  •         Windows on the southside of library, which we absolutely love and lets in more natural lighting.
  •         New Carpet, replacing the 1970’s carpet is a good thing!
  •         Acquiring a new room for meeting space, and a new emergency exit door.
  •         Book Store for the Friends of the Library right up front as you enter the library.

Q: How do you anticipate this improving your library/services/patron experience?
A: Our patrons love it! Everyone comes into the library and they say “oh wow you made it so much bigger”! No, same space just added windows, and again, I think the natural lighting makes the space look much bigger. We are up to ADA code, and there is much more space to browse the shelves. Patrons also have commented that “it’s a much happier space” and that is wonderful. All our patrons were deprived of their library for over a month, but once we opened it has become a wonderful place for them to come and just sit and read books, get on wifi or just to come in and walk around and enjoy the space.

Q: How long had it been since the last renovation?
A: Wow! 1970’s? Honestly I do not ever recall them doing any renovations of this type since the 70’s, we had them do some painting last year in February and it was more of a touch up.

Q: How was this funded? (local funds, state funds, etc.)
A: Funding for this phase of the project was acquired from a Capital Outlay Appropriation during the 2012 Legislative Session, Thanks to Senator Richard Martinez and Representative Debbie Rodella, along with City of Española’s City Council, and for the County of Rio Arriba acting as the City’s fiscal agent on this project the plan is to eventually seek funding for a new public library.

Q: What was the greatest challenge during the renovation process?
A: Greatest challenge? It was having to be closed for more than a month and not seeing our regular library patrons, I know once the book store went up we saw many patrons looking in through the windows just to see how the renovation was going. The noise and dust on many days was a little hard to bare, as was the process of moving a collection of 40,000 in books, audio books, DVD’s, reference material, and shelving. Those were are greatest challenges. But many thanks to the Española community and volunteers who came in to help take books out to storage containers, take shelving apart, and to bring all of the shelving, and collection back into the library.

Q: How long did it take?
A: It took approximately 8 weeks from start to finish for the entire project, with work crews starting some projects in January and then closing for the entire month of March.

Q: How are staff enjoying it?
A: They love it! The new carpet and windows are the best! It was a lot of hard work but my staff stayed strong and did their part in making this renovation a success. I think now the staff comes in a little earlier just to enjoy the library on their own time. They won’t say, but I have seen them quietly enjoying their library.

Q: How are you enjoying it?
A: I am loving it! And in the 6 years that I have been here it is great to see the difference that windows make! It makes the staff and myself happy along with the patrons. We did small projects, like the painting and getting new computer pods, and a new circulation desk. But nothing brings it all together better than a new renovation. I feel lighter, ready to take on the next project “a new library.” All this was done for our community and for the people in this wonderful community.

Q: Any lessons learned you think other library directors should know about?
A: Making sure you keep in touch with the project manager on a weekly base, it is so important that you know what the contractor or sub-contractor is working on next week, because you may need to close the library, or they happen to cut something like power and you have no idea how long it will take to have them check the wiring. Just make sure you have weekly meetings or emails about what is going on.

Q: Anything else?
A: The mission statement for the Española Public Library endeavors to maintain and improve the quality of life for all citizens of our community by providing resources that enhance and contribute to individual knowledge, enlightenment, and enjoyment in the most efficient manner possible. We especially recognize our responsibility to serve as a place for children to discover the joy of reading and the value of libraries. If the building isn’t preserved, if the infrastructure isn’t modernized, then we cannot ensure that our treasures will survive for many more years.

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Espanola Re-opens

NMSL presents a vase as a gift to the “new” library.

About Ryanne

Ryanne Cooper, former Bureau Chief of Library Development at the New Mexico State Library, is now a freewheeling library supporter, advocate, and fan of New Mexico's libraries from afar.

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