New children’s librarian is excited about programming
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The Roswell Public Library’s children’s department won’t be open until perhaps this summer, but nonetheless, the new children’s and youth librarian is excited about the potential to bring programs back to the library.
The pandemic and a broken pipe that caused a flood in June kept the children’s department closed to customers for more than a year, but the city is aiming this summer for work to be completed, the library director said on Tuesday. Enid Costley.
Although the department is closed to patrons, the library will begin its summer youth reading program “Tails and Tales” with weekly events in June and July. Registration begins June 1st.
Activities will take place mostly outdoors and will include making tie-dye shirts and STEM activities such as solar cooking.
Kids will be able to choose a prize each week that they see books, and those who complete the six-week program will be entered into a raffle for a grand prize.
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An adult reading program with prizes will also be offered this summer. Further information on the two programs will be posted on the library’s Facebook page and in the library.
Although programming will be limited while work is completed on the children’s section, Tracy Frie is happy to plan more. This is her second week as a child and youth librarian.
âI think it was because of her expertise and the wealth of experience she got from her background that she could get into the race,â said Costley.
âI like working with children. I’ve done it before and it was an opportunity to be a little more creative than where I was, âsaid Frie.
Frie was most recently the Hobbs Library’s Print Director. She said she failed to get involved in the library’s programming, however, and that’s what drew her to the job at Roswell.
Frie began working in the library in San Diego, California, where her husband was stationed in the Navy. She worked in public and school libraries in San Diego and Virginia, where she crossed paths with Costley.
They didn’t know each other at the time, but at the time, Costley was working for the Library of Virginia, providing training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematical programming.
Frie was a branch manager for a library in Virginia and worked with youth services programming.
âWe did the parades and the Dr. Seuss parties and the fun family nights, so we did a lot of programming,â she said.
She and her husband, who is now retired from the Navy and Law Enforcement, moved to Hobbs to be closer to a son. Frie stays in Roswell during the week and returns to Hobbs for the weekends, she said.
Besides the summer reading program, Frie is preparing programming projects centered on Dia de los Muertos and Christmas.
“We want to start story time, but we’re just a little hesitant about the space, but we’re trying to find a way to do it because the parents have asked about it,” a- she declared.
Storytime usually took place in the Malone Hall, but it is also undergoing renovations.
Frie is looking forward to working with the two STEM instructors at the Roswell Library on programs and said she would like to incorporate some of the activities she has been doing in Virginia.
âI would love to see a dance party for toddlers, preschoolers because they would love it,â she says.
Another program was called Masterpiece Makers and introduced children to artists like Michelangelo and then had them create their own art. A Lego club and book clubs are other ideas she would like to bring to the Roswell Library.
She would also like to offer programs for adolescents.
âI know it’s always a challenge to bring teens into the library, but hopefully in the future we can get a teens advisory group where they can come and help and discuss what they can do in a library, âshe said.
It will be some time before the children’s department is open – city staff have targeted July 1 for work to be completed, Costley said.
The library toilets, which suffered much of the flood damage, are still under construction.
âI really don’t want to open up the kids’ area until the bathrooms are there,â she said.
Also, now that the walls have been repaired, repainted and the baseboards installed, the shelves will need to be reinstalled for child safety.
âWe still have shelves that lean against other shelves and shelves that need to be moved and attached to the wall,â Costley said.
Even after the work is completed, the children’s department is expected to undergo more changes. Last week, Roswell City Council approved the use of the remaining $ 103,567 from 2018 General Bonds to create an interactive learning environment.
Costley works with the Burgeon Group, a Phoenix-based company that specializes in creating learning materials for public libraries. The Roswell Public Library would become the first in New Mexico to become a Burgeon Library, Costley said.
The plans include an interactive wetland exhibit for preschoolers that continues the theme of the koi pond painting by artist Tasia Ramage on the floor along the windows of the children’s department. Ramage also recently completed a mural depicting a waterfall scene in the department.
Other interactive displays planned with Burgeon would focus on Roswell culture and industries such as agriculture, oil and gas.
Other changes are in store or have recently been made throughout the library. Tuesday was the first day of the full opening of the library. Prior to this week, a member of staff – usually Costley – guarded the main entrance and a limited number of customers were allowed in at a time with required masks.
Following the state’s adoption of new mask guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, the library will no longer need to wear masks by patrons. Staff are not required to wear them either, although Costley said she asked staff to wear them in public areas of the library. There is no longer a member of staff guarding the entrance either.
Other new staff, full-time and part-time, are on board, including two who are fluent in Spanish, Costley said. Another reference librarian, Tiffany Rockwell, will debut later this month. Recently graduated from Louisiana State University, she has experience in coding and technology and will provide training on a planned computer system upgrade.
Even with the new members, library staff won’t live up to their pre-COVID numbers, but Costley said the library is learning to work lean. For example, instead of four reference librarians, there will now be two with two reference assistants who can answer simpler questions. Some jobs have been bundled into others and staff members are being cross-trained to help cover when someone is sick or goes on vacation, Costley said.
âWe are very happy to have a very solid experience in our staff and I think it will benefit us all,â said Costley.
City / RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205 or [email protected]