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The many gifts of libraries

Pat Hodapp

Libraries are a gift to everyone. Today, they are more than the library of your childhood. Libraries are bursting with books, media, technology and programs to tempt you to explore and widen your world, whatever your age.

Libraries have become the hubs of their communities. They provide that place where everyone is welcome.

According to recent studies, parents feel they are better parents if they take their children to the library. And they should! Exposing children to the library is crucial to their children’s mental and social growth.

One of the Santa Fe Public Library’s innovative programs is Books and Babies, which I started over 12 years ago at the then-new Southside Library. With the vision and support of the Brindle Foundation, thousands of young children and their caregivers have been exposed to the magical world of books and song. This is just one of hundreds of programs that the library provides year round.

With the support of our generous community giving through the Friends of the Library, you can see a wolf, enjoy opera for children, hear authors and much more. All for free.

The library’s technology and databases can provide access to information, and such diverse programs as learning languages and homework help or finding just the information you need to fix a truck or how to bake at high altitude. Plus free internet and WiFi.

Many of the children who were at the Southside Library’s opening in 2007 are now are in college or raising families of their own.

Joining the 3,600 people attending the library’s 10th anniversary celebration were former Mayors Larry Delgado, Javier Gonzales and David Coss, who attested to the value and importance of libraries and all that librarians do.

Libraries have been a part of my life ever since I first rode my bicycle to our rural library at age six. What a joy it is to see that same excitement in children today. Recently, a child asked her mother if she could come to the library with her friends for her birthday rather than going to a commercial party place. Hurrah!

This year, you will have the opportunity to take part in a community survey to determine the future of our libraries and the services they will provide. Share your vision.

These are just some of the many highlights I have experienced over the 13 years I have proudly served as the director of the Santa Fe Public Library.

I thank the Library Board for its support, as well as the wonderful staff who provide the best customer service day after day to our patrons.

My retirement won’t take me far from libraries as they are woven into the fabric of my life.

Hodapp retired as director of the Santa Fe Public Library on Jan. 31.


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