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Vote for bonds aids libraries

Lynette Schurdevin, director of library and information services for the City of Rio Rancho, shows how new equipment at Loma Colorado Main Library easily scans and sorts materials returned to the library. (Gary Herron/Rio Rancho Observer)

Lynette Schurdevin, director of library and information services for the City of Rio Rancho, shows how new equipment at Loma Colorado Main Library easily scans and sorts materials returned to the library. (Gary Herron/Rio Rancho Observer)

Lynette Schurdevin, director of library and information services for the City of Rio Rancho, said she’s thoroughly enjoyed her first nine months on the job.

And she’ll enjoy the next four years, too, maybe even more, if voters find it in their hearts – and wallets – to approve $3.25 million in general obligation bonds at the polls Nov. 4 “for the purpose of purchasing library books and resources, including equipment, upgrades and improvements for libraries.”

Schurdevin said Rio Rancho’s share of the Sandoval County bond issue, which would be appropriated between Esther Bone Memorial Library and Loma Colorado Main Library, amounts to $1.9 million.

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About $400,000 would be allocated annually if the bond question receives approval from voters, and that would be used to purchase books, DVDs, e-books, various digital content (such as magazines) and replace some old computers, probably six to eight each year.

“This is our materials budget,” she said. “The city (only) pays salaries and building operations.”

If the library bond question is defeated, people shouldn’t expect to see new books or DVDs arriving on the shelves for four or more years.

“This money is very important for us to provide the most bang for the buck,” Schurdevin said.

“I think people are starting to realize, ‘Oh, I can get that at the library,’ ” she said, referring to the wide selection of DVDs available to check out at both Rio Rancho facilities.

In September, Schurdevin said, 53,000 items were checked out at Rio Rancho libraries; 24,000 people came through the doors; and 5,800 used the public computers.

Schurdevin came to Rio Rancho from Las Cruces in mid-January, replacing the former director, Bill Cicola.

“I’ve made some subtle changes,” she said.

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For one, the new automated check-in equipment saves library staff countless hours of work, she said.

When patrons return books to the slots outside “her” library (Schurdevin’s office is at the Loma Colorado main branch), the materials are scanned at the top of a short conveyor belt, which then sorts them into five carts on wheels, depending on their category, including materials from The Bone.

Despite last weekend’s three days off because of Columbus Day, what would normally have taken until late Wednesday to organize before the automated equipment was completed just past mid-day Tuesday. That allowed a handful of staffers to take care of other library duties.

Although the inventory in libraries in the 21st century is much different from decades ago, when books and encyclopedias were just about all you’d find, Schurdevin said she envisions libraries to look and feel the same in another decade, despite technology and the usage of Kindles and other devices to download material electronically.

“There’ll still be books on the shelves, I truly believe that,” she said.

And she’s hoping voters OK bonds in November so she can keep adding books, DVDs and more to those shelves.

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