I have been blessed to have had many job titles in my career including my current title as Deputy Secretary for the Department of Cultural Affairs, but I have to say, the one I’m most proud of to date is “Acting State Librarian.” I have had the privilege of meeting with some of you on my travels or spoken to you on the phone, and I hope you all have learned from me that I am an unabashed fan of libraries. I am very proud to be associated with dedicated public servants like librarians even though this is a temporary position. I’ve worked in the federal, state, for-profit, and not-for-profit systems, and you just can’t match a librarian’s dedication to public service and willingness to take on enormous challenges with tireless determination. I could go on and on, but let me tell you what we are planning here at the NMSL and our main objectives.
Since joining the NMSL team, one of my main goals was to bring the State Library into statutory compliance of New Mexico Administrative Code (NMAC) rules. We’ve started working toward compliance of Rule 1.25.10 by sending letters to all state agencies and requesting that they provide us with a library liaison so that the State Library secures the necessary state publications we are required to distribute to our State Documents Depositories. With a budget increase request of $75,000, we hope to come into full compliance with regards to our State Publications program.
We have also put in a capital request for a new bookmobile. In August, I invited members of the Legislative Finance Committee to spend a day with me on the Rural Bookmobile East. Through this experience, our Bookmobile team did an excellent job conveying the need for this service and the true impact it has on the rural citizens of New Mexico. Also regarding the bookmobile program, we are working to reclassify the Rural Services Manager which was previously funded by LSTA so that it is funded by the State, freeing up more LSTA funds for public services.
I would also like to inform librarians of a budget increase request for the former “Van of Enchantment” which is now being revamped into a Mobile Museum Education Program. This will bring educational programs and the state’s wonderful cultural artifacts to all 33 counties with a curriculum-based program to elementary schools during the school year. During the summers, however, this traveling museum will partner with libraries across the state. The Executive Branch has approved a base budget increase of $150,000 for the operations, and I am personally fundraising $150,000 to $200,000 as a private match for the redesign.
All the initiatives listed above are keys to moving the State Library forward, and we hope you can communicate your support for these goals prior to and during the upcoming legislative session (January to March of 2015). Your legislators will convene here in Santa Fe to make important decisions and gather information. This is a great opportunity to impress upon the legislative body how their support to libraries in turn supports communities, and how GO bonds boost your library services. I encourage you to look at your plans and create a strategy to proactively spend what you can of 2012 GO Bonds prior to the legislative session. By last count of reimbursements, public libraries have spent 4% of their GO Bonds, and tribal libraries have spent 7%. GO Bonds can be spent on library resources and equipment. If you need any help during this process, please contact the Development Bureau here at the State Library.
Finally, we are working hard at staffing the positions that have been sitting open at the State Library, some of them for several years. While hiring can be a long process, it is our goal to fill our open positions with the most qualified individuals in order to provide you all with the best possible service.
We are at an interesting and exciting crossroads as librarians and library supporters. Libraries have become so much more than book lending services. Public libraries now offer digital and financial literacy services, and job search and application assistance. Through this transition to public libraries of the future, it will be even more important for librarians to communicate their impactful success stories with community leaders and the state legislature, so you can secure the necessary funding to serve your patrons in new ways. We invite you to share these stories with the State Library whenever you can so that we can continue to express the integral role of public libraries in New Mexico.
I hope that if I haven’t spoken with you personally yet that I will have the chance to do so prior to the end of my tenure at the State Library. As you know, we are in the process of searching for a top-notch State Librarian. On behalf of DCA and the State Library, we look forward to building on our recent successes with his or her leadership.
Deputy Cabinet Secretary
Acting State Librarian
Department of Cultural Affairs