New Mexico State Library

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Serving and Supporting Rural Communities at Embudo Valley Library

The New Mexico State Library is pleased to be participating in the state-wide Summer Intern program to offer experience in the operations of the state library and working for the state of New Mexico.  We have two excellent graduate interns working with the NMSL Development Bureau on our upcoming Circulating Kits and Traveling Exhibits program and with our Youth Services Coordinator on Summer Reading site visits.  Jennifer Chen is a native Californian and a recent MLIS graduate from San Jose State University expanding on her experience in public libraries in California.  Marley Jameson-Sisneros will begin her MLIS studies this Fall after working in academic libraries as an undergraduate and is discovering new parts of her native New Mexico.  Jennifer and Marley will be reporting on their experiences and takeaways from library visits around the state.  You can read Marley’s previous article about Rio Rancho here. 


By Marley Jameson-Sisneros 

On July 13th, my mentor Kelly McCabe, fellow intern Jennifer Chen, and I made our way north as we continued our summer reading visits. After a great visit in Taos, we made our way to the smaller community of Dixon to visit the Embudo Valley Library. The library serves the area from Velarde to Vadito which is home to approximately 8,500 people.

A view of the inside of the Embudo Valley Library.
A view of the inside of the Embudo Valley Library.

Established in 1992 by volunteers as a nonprofit, the library originally was housed in a rented room. In 2002, the current property was purchased which now is home to the library, community center, thrift store, co-op, and orchard. The thrift store is located in an old house which once held the library. All profits from the store help fund the library. Inside the house is the KLDK radio station, run entirely by volunteers with regularly scheduled programming. Next door is the Dixon Cooperative Market & Deli which helps fund the library through rent.

An angled view of the ceramic mural on the side of the Dixon Cooperative Market & Deli. The mural shows important landmarks in Dixon, including their acequias.
The ceramic mural located on the side of the Dixon Cooperative Market & Deli.

Behind it is the community center which is currently in the process of being renovated. After the renovations are complete, the building will house most library programming and become a free place for the community to meet. In 2014, the library’s current building was built by the community. The building included high vented ceilings and a Trombe wall, which is a form of passive heating that uses the sun, glass, and masonry to produce heat. I could feel the community in this space with the careful thought put into the building and the personalized touches throughout the property. The ecofriendly building includes a southwest section with glass cases full of artifacts from an archaeological dig in Dixon. The co-op has a beautiful ceramic mural made by high school students which identified Dixon landmarks.   

An educator from the New Mexico Wildlife Center holds up a turtle to show the children attending the Summer Reading Camp.
A visit to the Summer Reading Camp from the New Mexico Wildlife Center.

When we walked in the kids attending the Summer Reading Campa free day camp meeting from 11am to 4pm every Tuesday and Thursday of Julywere gathering in preparation for a visit from the New Mexico Wildlife Center in Espanola. Fifteen kids were registered for the program which was designed to fill a gap in childcare during July within the community. Lunch is provided by Espanola Public Schools during the program, and snacks come from the co-op next door. During the school year, the library has an after-school program serving K through 6. A library staff member walks across the street to the nearby Dixon Elementary School to pick up students for the program which runs until 5:30pm four days a week. Volunteer tutors are also present for this free program.  

Executive Director Rachel Esposito gave us a wonderful tour of the library and its surrounding buildings. The community has a large population of families present in the area for many generations as well as individuals who moved in at the height of the hippie movement and overall skews older. Esposito explained their services are aimed to help young families stay in the area. With no high school in Dixon or the surrounding communities, young families move or must send their kids to high schools further away, often in Taos and Espanola. Esposito told us she wants to help families feel like they can stay in Dixon and have the resources to do so. Programs like the Summer Reading Camp and afterschool program are a part of this mission as they provide much needed services and help create ties in the community to the library. 

The front of the La Segunda thrift store located beside the library. The building is a former green and beige house and has a welcome sign located out front.
The La Segunda Thrift Shop
A view of the inside of the radio station. Pictured is the desk, computer, and some broadcasting equipment.
An inside view of the KLDK radio station.

I had never been to a library like this one. The idea of a nonprofit library was something foreign to me, but I found myself incredibly impressed by the sustainable funding sources Embudo Valley Library has established. Through speaking with Rachel Esposito, I could see she understands the history and needs of her community very well. I was very inspired by what she had to say about her library, staff, volunteers, and community members. The sense of community and support built here was inspiring. Thank you to Rachel Esposito and Embudo Valley Library for having us and giving us such a wonderful tour.  

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