History of the Ruidoso Public Library
|A Brief History of the Ruidoso Public Library 1950-2011 |
A library was organized by members of Beta Sigma Phi in the 1950’s, and housed in the Ruidoso Federated Woman’s Club Building on South Evergreen Road in the Village of Ruidoso. Sorority President, and Worthy Grand Matron, Jocelyn (Jo) Leland’s record of those earliest days has been lost, but well remembered names include Margaret (Maggie) Leland, Earlene Phillips, and Mrs. John Thompson. This Library was funded entirely by donations and staffed by volunteers under the supervision of Murray Weindorf, a retired librarian.
In 1960 the Village of Ruidoso accepted governance of the Library and created the Library Advisory Board. Jane Parks served as the first President of the Advisory Board. The library was then moved to old City Hall on Wingfield Street, a building which had previously been a school, and is now Ruidoso Athletic Club (RAC).
At that time, Jo Leland employed Pat Ward, a college graduate with her degree in Library Science. There, beside the Village Jail and Police Station, Pat Ward, Village Librarian presided over the Library that was housed in two small dark rooms.
After 1966 the library was moved to the old airport terminal located approximately where the Convention Center now stands. Here Ruth McGuire Spiegel directed the Library enjoying a larger, brighter space, Village of Ruidoso funding, and State Aid.
In 1968 Mary Lou Gooch became Library Director. With the foresight of both the Library Advisory Board and Village officials, the building at Junction and Sudderth was built in 1975. Various librarians served at this location which is now the Senior Citizen Center. The first was Monese Barron; she was followed by Kathy Moore Flannery, Marion Elzy, and then Mary Lou Gooch who served until her retirement in 1993.
Nestled in the tall pines next to a four mile nature walk, the present library was designed by A.S.A. Architects and constructed in 1997 under the direction of Nancy Osterberg and Village Manager, Allen Briley. This beautiful facility is two-story, ADA-compliant, energy efficient, and contains 14,600 square feet. A view of Sierra Blanca is center stage when one enters the lobby. Tall vaulted windows, an outdoor reading patio, the Friends’ Book Shoppe, and comfortable window seats enhance the experience. An Archives room with climate control contains microfilm, 1st editions monographs, the New Mexico collection, and Genealogy resources.
Phyllis Reed became Director in 2002 and technology began to soar. The Library went from three public access computers in 2002 to twenty-nine public access computers and two self-check machines in 2006. The Library now has WI-FI, an e-branch, and an enhanced catalog that will soon offer a mobile version.
Today a staff of six annually checks out and restocks 107, 000 books, DVDs, and CDs, issues 1,500 borrowers cards, assists computer users during 22,828 sessions, provides services for 200,000 visitors, offers programs for 5000 people of all ages, and maintains a website with services for remote customers through the e-branch.
What a group of remarkable women began – with the help of many donors, officials, and library patrons – has grown from a few shelves in the Ruidoso Woman’s Club to a community treasure that provides books, information, technology and knowledge.