New Mexico State Library

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Story Time at Taos Public 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.

To read Jennifer’s previous article about Bernalillo, click here.

By Jennifer Chen

Early last Thursday morning, my mentor Kelly, fellow intern Marley, and myself started the drive North towards our planned library visits for the day: Taos Public Library and Embudo Valley Community Library. I will be writing about our experience in Taos. 

The entrance of Taos Public Library with many quilts on display.

The first thing that draws the eye when walking into the Taos Public Library is the quilts. They are hanging from the lower part of the ceiling, their beautiful designs on display. We made our way towards the children’s room to greet the Children’s Library Aide, Christianna Torres-Tapia, and the Children’s and Teens Services Supervisor, Vanessa Martinez. They gave us a small tour of their Children’s Library, talking to us about how many of their programs have improved in their attendance, with the number of people almost reaching pre-pandemic levels. One section that stood out to me was the Spanish section. The section was filled with bilingual and single language books in Spanish, encouraging language-learning to a younger audience. Christianna and Vanessa explained how they have begun a Bilingual Story Time, working with the local bilingual school to further encourage that language learning. Working together with a bilingual school is similar to what my duties are back in California; I helped with bringing bilingual books to a local bilingual school, so seeing a similar program here in Taos made me happy.

Teen art contest winners on display.

Next, we were shown the newly rearranged teen room, dubbed the “Chamber of Knowledge” by the teens themselves. They also have their own self-checkout machine tucked away in the corner of the space. The bookshelves on the right block the opening towards the rest of the library to give the teens more privacy. One thing I loved about this space was the art that was drawn by their teen patrons up on display. Vanessa told us about how they held an art competition as passive programming for their teen demographic, and many of their patrons had participated.

The "Chamber of Knowledge," personally named by the Taos Public Library's teen patrons.
Story Time with Christianna and Vanessa.

As we were finishing off our tour, the Story Time program was about to start. Kathy Theriot from First Steps was the person leading Story Time today. Her friendly demeanor and gentle nature welcomed the kids into the space, singing various songs to get the kids excited for reading. Christianna and Vanessa led the reading together, voicing the two characters. I was happy to participate in the fun, singing along and listening to the story. We finished Story Time with a scavenger hunt out in the garden. Plenty of critters and pieces of nature were available for the little ones to find, with a sweet, frozen Otterpop to beat the heat. The kids and their guardians had a lot of fun wandering through the garden behind the library, finding all the items on their scavenger hunt log. 

The scavenger hunt sheet after Story Time. How many of these things can you find?

Taos Public Library has done an excellent job in creating a welcoming environment for their patrons. Creating safe spaces for kids after school and interactive activities during the summer have encouraged their patrons to return to the library again and again. 

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