Thank You To Everyone

Time Blevins, Placitas library director

My first year as director of Placitas Community Library was blessed with new experiences, new friends, and new challenges. I immediately felt welcomed by the community. I enjoyed learning from the enthusiastic volunteer staff, the knowledgeable patrons, and the incredibly dedicated Board of Directors. Every day was full of rewarding opportunities to learn something new about the operation of the library and the needs of our community. PCL is an amazing library that only exists because of the many people who love and care for it.

Tim Blevins

My first two weeks on the job left me soaking wet from the firehose of information that had to be conveyed quickly. Nearly every day for the next six months contained unexpected chances to learn about the unique needs of PCL as a rural community library. Due to COVID-19, the library was closed to the public from the end of March until mid-May and I was able to spend time learning more about the library by inventorying the records, establishing my filing system, and working through the numerous processes foreign to me as a newbie. Though my recent experience prior to returning to New Mexico was in library administration, during most of my career I worked in archives and regional history collections. I had a lot to learn.

As reopening became promising, the library’s Management Team spent our efforts determining what services we could provide with limited access to the building. Special Operating Hours for materials pickup launched soon after the Public Health Order permitted resumption of some services and laptop checkout for use under the portal followed shortly after. The days were warm for sitting outdoors and checking out library materials and laptops was welcomed by many who had become homebound with little to read or watch. Quarantine procedures were developed to reduce the risks of virus transmission from library materials. Every day, except Sunday, volunteers prepared items requested by patrons, checked items in and out of quarantine, and shelved materials. The doors may have been closed, but much work was happening behind them.

During the middle of July, the library lobby and Collin Meeting Room reopened for limited use. The Donated Books Team refreshed books and DVDs available to purchase and “normalcy” seemed to be within reach. During August, trained teams of two started to inventory every item in the library. Over the years, items have been “weeded,” were misplaced, or have disappeared. On completion of the inventory, the online catalog will have an accurate accounting of the library’s holdings. Items that were returned, but not removed from patrons’ accounts will be resolved, and a process will begin to remind borrowers when they have overdue items. If you have any library materials that were perhaps long forgotten we would welcome them back before reminder notices go out.

Since early last year, despite COVID, the addition to the library progressed under the leadership of the PCL Board Chair, Dr. Doris Fields. Doris understood the importance of the construction project to the community and took to heart the responsibilities of ensuring everything went as close to plan as possible. She has done a remarkable job and I cannot thank her enough for keeping up with it all. The building will be completed very soon and will be a remarkable placita para todos.

Doris and I have been able to work closely during the past years—well, as close as social distancing permits—and I am awed by her caring and leadership. We spent many hours talking about what is best for the library and we developed the plan that she describes above to improve our ability to keep up with the workload of our growing community library—dividing the compensated work between a part-time library director and a part-time administrator. We believe the work can be accomplished efficiently and affordably.

Though I have liked the work, enjoyed working with everyone at PCL, and loved getting to know the patrons, I have decided to take a different path for my library career. The plan is to hire a new library director soon so that there is time for me to provide training and ensure a smooth transition. I hope to continue to add value at the library and join the best cadre of volunteers ever known.

Thank you to everyone for making a place for me at the Placitas Community Library. Best wishes for your continued success.

Gratefully yours,

Tim B.

About the author