By Dr. Doris Fields, PCL Board Chair

Transitions are finalizing. Tim Blevins’ term as library director has formally ended and he is now training the new staff. On his last two days as director, volunteers surprised Tim with an online party and a parade. [Photos: Amy Byres of the Rio Rancho Observer (L – R) “Grand Marshall” Tim with Nora Timmons and her Mustang; the celebration caravan; Sandoval County Commissioner Katherine Bruch, Tim, Dr. Doris Fields, Board Member Harriet Neal]

What’s that sound?

Our new library director, Mary Sue Houser and new administrator, Furman Kelley are navigating, having jumped in with both feet, learning all the parts and players in and associated with the library. Mary Sue got a glimpse of the depth of our volunteers’ engagement when eight of us showed up to unload the shed so it could be moved to its permanent location. Not only did they empty the shed quickly, while they sat (masked and social distancing) nibbling on somewhat healthy treats, three volunteers noticed something that did not sound right. Jaime CoulterDawn Foster, and Wayne Gordon diagnosed a problem with the water filtering system and made recommendations. In the following week, the sound that had been troubling Mary Sue was addressed. 

When, oh when will we open?

At last! The year-long construction project is coming to a close. The last major part, flooring, is being installed; Luxury Vinyl Tile flooring (LVT) will be in all the new spaces, and then in the Collin Meeting Room a bit later. After that, a few touch-ups and trimming will bring us to the end. “When, oh when will we open?” the Art Committee has cried since last August. We faced several challenges, including completing construction with sometimes long delays. Although we have architectural designs, we need to be in the space to calculate furnishing possibilities accurately. Once we have access to the new spaces, we can furnish it appropriately. The Furnishings and Fixtures Committee purchased a few items, such as kitchen tables and chairs, bookcases, and file cabinets. Our Children’s and Adult Programs Committees have been collaborating on needed shelving for the collections; they are working with Mary Sue and the vendors to determine the most effective furnishings to accommodate workspaces needs for Donated Books, Bricks Campaign, Donor Database Project, Bookkeeping, our administrator, and our director.

“When will we open?” is a question we all want answered. We consider two answers: 1) When construction is complete and 2) When we are safe from COVID. The library has become a gem by collaborating and strategizing. Each committee of PCL is hard at work organizing their areas to make the most of new spaces and options. For example, the Donated Books team will determine how they want their lobby space organized for sale items. Art, Children’s, and Adult Programs Committees will collaborate with Mary Sue on appropriate furnishings for her office and the new Gracie Lee Community Room. The Art Committee will augment their online exhibits with art on the actual walls. The Landscaping Committee will revitalize the gardens, design new sections, and install new plants and the memorial bricks. The colorful teaching rug currently in the children’s section will have a new role. Patrons, then, will give these new possibilities life.   

In addition to construction completion, opening the library is guided by circumstances around COVID. While case rates are declining in New Mexico, PCL is focused on maintaining the health and safety of patrons and volunteers. We will take into consideration case, hospitalization, and death rates due to COVID and, more importantly, vaccination rates in our community. That said, we are exploring the possibility of a “soft” opening of the library in May or June. After then, we will gauge timing for a “Grand Opening” in early fall. Stay tuned! Happy Spring!

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