New Mexico State Library

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Public Libraries Bring Art Education Into Rural New Mexico

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 around the state. This is the first article in their series. 


By Jennifer Chen and Marley Jameson-Sisneros

On Tuesday June 20th, we followed Wonders on Wheels to Moriarty and Estancia as the bus took part in each library’s respective summer reading programs. Wonders on Wheels (WoW) is a retrofitted RV that serves as a mobile museum, reaching children across the state with a focus on rural and tribal communities. The RV reaches youth primarily through visits to public schools and libraries. Each year, Wonders on Wheels hosts an exhibit curated by one of the Department of Cultural Affairs eight museums. The exhibits run for about nine months, then is off the road for three months while the next exhibit is assembled. 

This year’s exhibit shows print and marionette work of Gustave Baumann, drawn from the collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art. The RV is fitted with drawers which hold tools Baumann would need to make his complex layered prints. Small video screens display the annual Christmas puppet show performed with Bauman’s marionettes. During the summer, Wonders on Wheels is occupied with visits primarily to public libraries around the state. Program Manager, Jennifer Hasty, gave us a tour of this summer’s exhibit, wowing us with the history of Baumann’s works.

Pull-out drawers display Baumann’s tools and supplies.
WoW Program Manager Jennifer Hasty gives a tour to NMSL Interns Jennifer Chen and Marley Jameson-Sisneros.

At Moriarty Community Library, children and their families gathered at a table to participate in an activity in which they created their own marionettes from a variety of materials such as paper, string, stickers, pipe cleaners, and more. Wonders on Wheels Instructional Coordinator, Heidi Heidgerken, facilitated this activity along with Moriarty’s Children’s Librarian, Ashley Williams. Ashley told us that the library’s Builder’s Club has seen a lot of success this summer. The club allows children to explore creating structures with a variety of materials and meets every Tuesday. The Builder’s Club met in the afternoon after the WoW bus visit. Following the Summer Reading Program, the most popular event of the year is approaching: the Moriarty Mini Comic Convention. The convention has seen success in the past, particularly amongst teens. It is hosted by the library in the civic center and will be held again this year on Saturday August 5th.  We were excited by the range of programs being offered within this remote community.

“Each library has its own unique patron base, and staff at both libraries demonstrated a

deep understanding of their communities’ needs.”


The WoW bus pulls up to Estancia Public Library.
Patrons in Moriarty and Estancia could craft their own marionettes.

The second stop of the day was at Estancia Public Library where the WoW mobile museum’s visit coincided with the Library Lizards who meet every Tuesday at 3:30pm year-round for arts and crafts. Angela Creamer, the Director of Estancia Public Library, planned to have the WoW bus come on the same day as the Library Lizards to maximize the time that her patrons are there. Transportation in rural communities is often limited, which limits how often patrons can physically come to the library for programming. By planning programs on the same day, Angela strives to make the drive worth the trip. We were happy to see a good turnout for a weekly program. Through our conversation with Angela, it is clear the consistency of this program has benefited her community.

Moriarty and Estancia public libraries serve small communities with populations of approximately 2,000 and 1,500 people respectfully. We were impressed by these libraries’ abilities to work with their communities to maximize program turn out. Each library has its own unique patron base, and staff at both libraries demonstrated a deep understanding of their communities’ needs. By working together with the WoW bus, they can provide their patrons with a unique and educational experience.

To book Wonders on Wheels for your library, please contact Jennifer Hasty, Program Manager, at: (505) 487-3620 or


WoW bus visitors can leave with postcards of Baumann’s famous prints of New Mexico landscapes.

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