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Hitchhiker Notes: The Hitchhiker E-Newsletter from the New Mexico State Library is about you and your libraries. We depend on you to let us know what is going on at your libraries,and your suggestions for making this a better newsletter. Send your news, events, training, job and other announcements for the library community to Deanne Dekle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

December 12, 2008; #1677

In this issue:

• Bookmobiles
• Hard times and libraries  
• Online reference tool
• Ruidoso on the Web
• Grants available
• Library class online
• ILL holiday pause
• Librarians at the Legislature
• JOBS - School librarian


In an effort to make its popular, 52 year-old, statewide bookmobile program as fiscally healthy and responsive to rural New Mexicans as possible, earlier this year the New Mexico State Library closed its Silver City Bookmobile office and realigned the remaining three bookmobile routes to better serve its patrons (see HH #1658 & #1663). 

Today, after nearly six months of operation with the new, more efficient schedule and routes, State Librarian Susan Oberlander reports that the bookmobile program is as stable – and popular – as ever.  Managers of the program have even added stops on the routes to serve new communities. 

Despite route and schedule adjustments, the dedicated bookmobile staffs have made important new personal connections with people who use the bookmobile.  Bookmobiles are a mobile supply line for information and link to connect communities with the rest of the world.  One bookmobile recently had two men apply for library cards. To most of us, having a library card is no big deal. But these men in their 30’s or 40’s were amazed and emotional when they received their cards.  Both acknowledged this was their first library card – ever!  Paula White, Bookmobile East Manager responded that, “it made me feel like I had handed them a million dollars.” 

Bookmobiles supply a variety of patron information needs. Rural patrons who home school depend upon the bookmobile to deliver supplemental materials to be used in their programs. Many people depend on the bookmobile for research answers. The list is high and wide for information requests. A curious little boy at Ramah, wanted to know more about diodes. Patrons at Fence Lake are interested in the migration of tarantulas. A senior patron at Thoreau wanted a list of leather bound westerns by a popular author. Bookmobiles do more than furnish patrons with reading materials.

The bookmobile program looks forward to continuing to thrive in 2009 as the library source for people who live in rural areas without public libraries.  In 2008, the primary federal funding for the program, the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) budget was reduced, which resulted in less operating money for the program.  However, Governor Bill Richardson and First Lady Barbara Richardson, who are committed literacy advocates, supported approval by the State Legislature to fund two much-needed replacement bookmobiles.  Rural Bookmobile East’s new bus was delivered to the Tucumcari headquarters on November 24, and Rural Bookmobile West will receive theirs in early 2009. 

Last year the bookmobiles traveled about 80,000 miles, made over 1,600 stops, served 17,000 customers, and checked out more than 119,000 books.  State Librarian Susan Oberlander says, “Books and bookmobiles still matter. It’s apparent to our new and old bookmobile customers that they can rely on our service as the primary place to get information and books if they don’t have their own public library.” 



Send your news or stories that you would like to share with the library community to the HH editor, Robert Upton, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Hard times and libraries.  With the economic situation worrying everybody and forcing people to make belt-tightening choices that they haven’t considered in quite some (better) times, libraries are finding themselves in a paradoxical place. 

The Los Angeles Times for December 4 reported in an article, “Hard times drive rise in library traffic” by Alana Semuels, that the Los Angeles Public Library is experiencing record use.  The library system’s spokesman, Peter Persic, told the paper that it has had a 12 percent increase in visitors during the 2008 fiscal year, which ended June 30, over the previous year. Patrons checked out 17.2 million books, DVDs, CDs, and other items during that period, a 10 percent increase. Some branches report even bigger spikes in use. 

What can libraries do to help their customers and keep their services and doors open? While recent reports say that library usage is up, libraries are seeing their budgets shrink as government agencies tighten spending as well.  In a podcast on the Web at, the hosts, George & Joan, discuss how libraries haven't been spared in “Thinking Out Loud: Tough Economic Times & Libraries.”  They point out in that these aren't the first tough economic times and they won't be the last.  They have some ideas that may help you and your library. 

WebJunction is offering two courses at a 60 percent discount through January to help build your skills at :  

  • Problem Solving: Generating Alternatives: $15*
  • The Fundamentals of Exceptional Customer Service: $15*

To enroll, please go toWebJunction’s Course Catalog. For information about how to enroll, visit the User Guide or FAQ. You must be registered as a WebJunction member to enroll (registration is absolutely free). To take advantage of the discount, please enroll by January 31, 2009.
How are these conditions affecting your library?  What are you doing about it?  If you’d like to share your experience with your NM colleagues, send an email to the Hitchhiker for a future article. 

Online reference tool.  Reference Extract, at , is a project that is envisioned as a web search engine, like Google, Yahoo, and MSN. However, unlike other search engines, Reference Extracts will be built for maximum credibility by relying on the expertise and credibility judgments of librarians from around the globe. Users will enter a search term and get results weighted towards sites most often referred to by librarians at institutions such as the Library of Congress, the University of Washington, the State of Maryland, and over 1,400 libraries worldwide. This grant will support planning for Reference Extract and building the foundation necessary to implement it as a large-scale, general user service. 

A few articles have been in the press about this project.  See and .  David Lankes, who is working on the project, has a talk about it streaming at

Ruidoso on the Web.  Ruidoso Public Library has a three-year project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation called The MaintainIT Project.  The library is gathering stories from public libraries on how they support public computers and publish their tips and techniques in cookbooks and articles, available for free on the project web site. The project works with libraries throughout the U.S. and Canada, sharing stories from the field so librarians can learn from each other. 

MaintainIT is a project of TechSoup, ( ), a nonprofit with extensive experience helping other nonprofits use technology effectively.  TechSoup works closely with community technology centers (CTCs) that offer access to public computers and have many of the same issues as public libraries.  Techsoup Stock ( ) has distributed over 2.5 million donated and discounted products to nonprofits and public libraries, freeing more than $600 million dollars for other uses. 

Learn more on the Web about Ruidoso Public’s spotlighted project at .


Grants available.  CMA Public Library Innovation Grants, made possible through a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are available to local governments that develop innovative ways to actively engage their public libraries in meeting specific community goals. 

The grants will be anchored by a partnership between the office of the chief administrative officer (city, county, or town manager) and the public library, recognizing the importance of the manager/librarian partnership in creating and sustaining change and innovation. A series of leadership workshops and project coaching will help grantees solidify the partnership, ensure the short-term success of the project, and secure new resources to support the long-term use of libraries in addressing community priorities and issues. 

ICMA will provide a total of $500,000 in Public Library Innovation Grants. Individual grants will range from $20,000 to $60,000. Only U.S. local governments and libraries are eligible to apply. Applications, guidelines, and a budget template are available at . Please contact Molly Donelan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. 


HH notes.  The Hitchhiker is about you and your libraries.  We depend on you to let us know what is going on at your libraries, and what you like or don’t like about the content of the newsletter.  Please help by spreading the word that Hitchhiker is back, and by reminding others to send their email addresses so we can notify them each time a new issue is available.  Send your news and announcements, and also new and corrected email addresses to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  




Send event and training announcements for the library community to the HH editor, Robert Upton, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Library class online.  The Educational Media / Library Science program at UNM's College of Education will offer EMLS 437/537 – “Library Collection Development” as an online course starting January 20, 2009.  For additional information, please contact Leslie Chamberlin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ILL holiday pause. Because most large lenders are closed and mail delivery slows down during the holidays, the New Mexico State Library’s Interlibrary Loan department will stop processing requests on Monday, December 22. The Department will resume processing on Friday, January 2. The ILL staff will be in the office during this time, so if you have any emergency requests or any ILL problems or questions, please contact them at (505) 476-9700 or 800-477-4401. Also, during this time ILL staff will be more than happy to send any materials that the State Library holds in its own collections.

Librarians at the Legislature.  Library Legislative Day will be held on Friday, January 30, this year during the 2009 Legislative Session.  The top public library issue on the agenda will be an increase in state aid.  To learn more about how you can participate, contact Joe Sabatini or Cynthia J. Shetter, co-chairs of the NMLA Legislation Committee or see the New Mexico Library Association web site at



Send job announcements to the  HH editor, Robert Upton, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . There is no charge for this service to the library community. 

School librarian.  There is an open Librarian position at Sky City School in Acoma.  If you are interested in learning more about this full-time job in a rural location 55 minutes west of Albuquerque, contact Veronica Sanchez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of information. 


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