October 29, 2010; #1724

In this issue:  



As editor of the Hitchhiker for the past 21 years, I would like to thank the readers and contributors to the State Library’s newsletter who have made this assignment such a pleasure.  I’ve enjoyed working with all of you and I want you to know how much I appreciate the retirement wishes I’ve received from libraries, readers, and colleagues as I wind down into this, the last issue I bring to publication. 
As I leave this post, I would like to remember how the HH got its start and the people who held its reins before my turn came.   
Hitchhiker was first conceived when Edwin Dowlin was State Librarian in 1972.  He told the story to HH in the 1000th  issue (April 19, 1993):  “The name ‘Hitchhiker’ was not an accident.  In the early 1970’s we were trying to get librarians to feel a sense of community and profession and to develop support for legislative programs.  Library Journal had just begun its new newsletter, LJ HotlineHotline was very interesting, informative, and expensive.  No New Mexico library could afford to subscribe (I seem to recall that it cost $375 per year.)  The State Library wanted a publication, but we didn’t feel we could afford to publish something along the lines of Library Journal.  A deal was worked out for LJ Hotline to sell us a multiple subscription.  Each week, 100 copies of Hotline arrived at the State Library and we assembled a one-page New Mexico newsletter to hitch-hike on the copies that Hotline sent us to mail to every library in the state.  However, when new copyright legislation was about to pass in 1973, the Hotline lawyers made LJ stop multiple distribution.  They feared that their rights would be threatened.  The Hitchhiker continued alone due to popular demand.”  
Louise Brown was Hitchhiker’s first writer/editor from its premiere on May 8, 1972 until she retired in October, 1975.  Betty Ela, who had handled the production phase of Hitchhiker from its inception, took over the editorship as well until she retired in August 1979.  
Joan Plessner was next at the helm.   She turned HH over to Betty Sena in May 1983, who served as its editor until October 1985.  Next, Daryl Black took over, migrating the newsletter from a mimeographed publication to using electronic production.  When she left the State Library, the editor’s hat passed on to Robert Upton, who, 932 issues later, is passing the torch on to Renee Payne. 
Hitchhiker was a weekly until July 17, 2006, when then State Librarian Richard Akeroyd suspended publication.  The newsletter returned in August 3, 2007, by State Librarian Susan Oberlander as a bi-weekly published online. 
With these final thoughts, I am pleased to turn my files, my passwords, and my confidence over to my successor, Renee Payne, new Hitchhiker Editor. 
-Sincerely, Robert Upton


Send your news or stories that you would like to share with the library community to the HH editor, Robert Upton, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Librarian fired, rehired.  An article in the Las Cruces Sun-News on October 11, by Diana Washington Valdez, reporter for the El Paso Times, reported an upset the operation of the Sunland Park Community Library.  A looming budget crisis that rocked Sunland Park's city government in recent weeks caused a series of staff shake-ups, including the firing of Luz Vargas, the city librarian.  But the story starts from a different point.  Issues over the Camino Real Landfill in the New Mexico city appears to be part of the saga. 
According to city documents, events began when the Sunland Park City Manager Jaime Aguilera fired Luz Vargas.  Vargas, a former City Council member, has long advocated for the landfill to be moved out of Sunland Park. She is also part of ongoing litigation that seeks for the state to deny the landfill a renewal permit.  A September 27 memo from Aguilera to Vargas notified her that he was terminating her, in part due to her unspecified actions against a City Council member.  Taylor Moore, a retired lawyer in Sunland Park, said Vargas had a heated encounter with a council member, but witnesses who were present at the time were able to clear Vargas of any blame. 
“They also tried to allege that Vargas had circumvented the purchasing order process to obtain a computer for the library, which also turned out not to be true,” Moore said.  Moore, who is also opposed to the landfill, said Aguilera recently showed up at the library with the police chief to escort Vargas out of the building. 
On September 28, Aguilera submitted a letter of resignation to Mayor Martin Resendiz. In his letter, Aguilera said, “I do so (resign) in response to the action of you and the City Council on September 27, 2010, wherein the Council voted to terminate my contract of employment made September 10, 2009.”  Aguilera's letter, which is marked “draft” at the top, states that under his contract he will remain on the city's payroll for another six months. He receives a yearly salary of about $95,000.  Besides accepting Aguilera's resignation, the city of Sunland Park reinstated Vargas as librarian. 
In August, the city of El Paso had rejected a $2.5 million landfill contract offered by Camino Real Landfill, which is owned by Waste Connections.  El Paso city government had decided instead to continue with plans to require all commercial waste generated in El Paso be hauled to El Paso city landfills.  Waste Connections, which hauls commercial trash from El Paso to Camino Real in Sunland Park, fought against the change. Waste Connections said the commercial trash from El Paso accounted for 75 percent of Camino Real’s income.  In a September 13 letter, Camino Real Landfill division manager Lee Wilson notified Aguilera that “As a result of the city's breach of the host agreement, Landfill hereby terminates the host agreement. In addition, Landfill hereby terminates its commitment to pay the city royalty payments based on Landfill’s gross revenue, as outlined in my letter to the city dated May 15, 2010.” 
Before his resignation, city officials said Aguilera met with the city's department heads and instructed them to scale back their budgets and cut city employees’ pay by more than 20 percent.  Aguilera reportedly told them the budget cuts were related to the landfill's actions against the city.  The former city manager allegedly attributed the financial crisis to Camino Real's threat to withhold certain payments from Sunland Park.  Sunland Park City Council members said Aguilera did not consult with them about the budget cuts, which created widespread alarm among city employees.  
Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Salinas said that he never saw the May 15 letter, and that as far as he knows, the city does not receive any royalty payments from Camino Real.  “We don't know what started the rumors that we had a budget crisis. ... We had already approved the budget for the new fiscal year,” Salinas said. 
State Grants-in-Aid.  $539,517 in State Grants-in-Aid were awarded to 86 public and developing libraries for fiscal year 2010/2011.  The 50% rule (NM Statutes 6-3-6) is in effect this year. The 50% rule restricts budget allocations and expenditures for ALL divisions to 50% of the amount budgeted in the General Appropriations bill between July 1, 2010, and December 31, 2010.  This means only 50% of the State Aid grant can be issued now.  If there are no further budget reductions the remaining 50% will be issued sometime in early 2011.  However, any additional budget reductions will impact the final amount available. 
Distribution is based on the information libraries provided in the FY2009/2010 Annual Report and awarded based on priorities and formulas established in NMAC 4.5.2.  Grant funds may be used for library collections, library staff salaries, library staff professional development, library equipment, or other operational expenditures associated with delivery of library services.   All State Aid funds MUST be spent by June 30, 2011. 
Awards are as follows:  
Public Libraries: $5,765.22
 50% now: $2,882.61
 50% after January 1 if budget permits: $2,882.61 
Branches: $2,882.62
 50% now: $1,441.31
 50% after January 1 if budget permits: $1,441.31
Developing: $1,500
 50% now: $750
 50% after January 1 if budget permits: $750
If you would like further clarification, contact Geri Hutchins, Federal Programs Coordinator at the New Mexico State Library;  (505) 476-9727, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
NM libraries receiving free copies of Freedom.  The American Library Association is sending free copies of the Oprah Book Clubs’ latest selection, Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen, as an exclusive ALA members-only benefit for libraries and organizations.  The publisher, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, is making the copies available and shipping them to ALA member libraries.  This includes middle and high school, public, community college, and prison member libraries.  ALA reminds those receiving the book shipments to share any copies a library cannot use itself with other libraries in the area.  
Oprah’s Book Club website  provides tips for organizing and hosting book groups, discussion guides for selected titles, opportunities to participate in discussions through the website, and features on book clubs around the country. 
Freedom is a comic and tragic epic of contemporary love and marriage.  This masterfully crafted novel captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, and the responsibility of privilege.  Charting the characters' mistakes and joys as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever-changing and confusing world, Freedom is an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time. 
Author Jonathan Franzen will appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show in November. Details about the upcoming episode will be available online at a later date. 
As the biggest book club in the world, Oprah's Book Club has nearly two million online members.  Each of its selections have skyrocketed to the top of bestsellers lists.  Enrollment is free and provides members with access to benefits such as online discussion groups and reading questions. 
Oprah's Book Club also works with the American Library Association (ALA) to distribute thousands of free Book Club selections donated by each publisher, to school, public, and community college libraries nationwide.  The Chicago-based ALA, ALA.org, is the oldest and largest library association in the world with more than 64,000 members.
Silver City student presents art and literacy. 

Public Library visits by New Mexico residents rank the state 41st, with an average of only 3.4 visits per year.  According to a report by "The State of Literacy in America," New Mexico is in a literacy crisis as 46 percent of New Mexicans are considered functionally illiterate. 

This disturbing statistic, according to a report in the Silver City Sun-News  posted October 25, caught the passion of  Cliff High School student Serina Pack in Grant County, who has started a program to share her passion for reading with art with the children in her community.  Earlier this month, Serina hosted a workshop at the Silver City Public Library, called “For the Love of Art and the Read for Joy” program.  This creative literacy program is offered to area youth with the goal of improving the literacy levels of children. The workshop is designed to inspire children to read and express themselves through art. Participants joined in a fun game to learn to new vocabulary words before reading together the book called, Mahalia Mouse Goes to College, by John Lithgow.  Afterwards, they held a group discussion about the book, which shares the importance and fun of education, and having courage and strength to follow one’s dreams.  This they combined with an art project with watercolor and pencils. Each child chose scenes Serina created from the book, then added their feelings and creativity to create paintings. The workshop concluded with a time to discuss reading and art. 
Books are provided by Literacy Link Leamos.  The art supplies and printing costs are raised through Serina's work for this project.  The first workshop was made possible by the local Kiwanis.  Serina's art and reading workshops are being offered for free to children of Grant County.  She hopes to have this program presented to more than a hundred children this fall. 
NM History scholarship funding restructured.  New Mexico State Historian Dr. Rick Hendricks and the President of the Historical Society of New Mexico, Dr. Michael G. Stevenson, have announced a new partnership between the State Records Center and Archives and its Office of the State Historian and the Historical Society.  The partnership will focus on a joint Office of the State Historian and Historical Society Scholars Program.  Under the program, fellowships of up to $1,000 will be awarded to students and other scholars to perform research in New Mexico archival repositories on topics relating to New Mexico history and culture.  Prior to the conclusion of the fellowship, each scholar will be required to submit a written report on the archival research he or she has conducted and give a public lecture based on the fellowship research.  In 2011, a total of $13,000 in fellowships will be awarded. 
Funding for the fellowships is made possible through the generosity of several non-profit organizations.  These include the Humanities Council of New Mexico, the Ellison Family Grant, the Center for Regional Studies at the University of New Mexico, the King/Carpenter Foundation and the Historical Society's Paul Carpenter Education Fund, and the  Jane Sanchez Legacy Fund. 
The Historical Society will administer the funding and contract with those awarded fellowships.  The Office of the State Historian will issue the call for proposals, convene an awards committee to review qualifying applications to select the fellowship recipients, and verify that the terms of the agreements have been met.  The partnership will allow the continuation of a program that had been suspended because of Fiscal Year 2011 budgetary limitations at the State Records Center and Archives.
HH notes.  The Hitchhiker is about you and your libraries.  We depend on you to let us know what is going on at your libraries, and what you like or don’t like about the content of the newsletter.  Please help by reminding others to send their email addresses so we can notify them each time a new issue is available.  Send your news and announcements, and also new and corrected email addresses to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.