[In 2004, Margaia Forcier-Call volunteered to be the Story Lady and continued for 9 years.]
I very much enjoyed being Story Lady with the children of the Jemez. Sitting on the floor with them, on our “story-time quilt” made by Donna Lea, was a time of many precious moments. Not only did I read books to them, re-enacted very short stories (with home-made “props”), but once a year, we went through an Alphabet Book — a few (perhaps 4) letters at a time. Also, we ended the last 5 or so minutes, with a “sticker book” in which they learned, numbers, colors, shapes, etc.
Five-year-old Nash brought [a book] to his mother saying, “Can I read you a story?” She smiled saying sure, but not knowing what to expect. He began reading from this book, and read the first 10 pages, to her astonishment. She asked, “Where did you learn how to read? Who taught you?” He answered, “I don’t know. I just know how to read this.” He brought the book to his last session at the library, and read for us. An incentive for the children present! He usually sat next to me, on the floor, and looked attentively at the book/pages I was reading. . . . When he started reading at school, the teacher told his mother that he changed his voice at every character he was reading about. I laughed. Apparently, he was mimicking me, since I did that when I read to the children. Each animal or human character had its own voice…
In my last years, I had a brother and sister team in the group. Henry was at least a year or two older than his little sister, Imogene (who joined the group when she was not quite 3 yet). During his last year with us (after he turned 5), Henry often commented on the story we were reading. (I welcomed the children’s participation.) He would politely say, “Miss Margaia…” then give his comment. One day, immediately after Henry’s comment, Imogene blurted out: “Miss Gaia, Miss Gaia…” and had her little say. I couldn’t help smiling.
My memories of these hours spent with the children of Jemez, are very fond ones.
The Jemez Springs Public Library first opened in April 1965. The 50th anniversary was celebrated with an author symposium and open house. The symposium featured two authors who had appeared in the noted series of author talks that began in 2001. They were N. Scott Momaday, who spoke at the first symposium and moderated the second, and Nasario Garcia, who spoke at the fifth symposium in 2005. Anne Hillerman was the third author. She has continued the popular mystery series written by her father, Tony Hillerman, who also spoke at the first symposium. Irene Wanner, local author and book reviewer, was moderator.
Following is the program for the 50th anniversary symposium.
The fourth library remodel in 2008 joined the existing library building with the former village office building.
Students participating in the Land of Enchantment Book Club brought their lunches to Jemez Valley School Library on Tuesdays and learned about books while they ate. In one session, fourth graders kneaded dough to make hardtack, like the Revolutionary War soldiers ate in the book, They Called Her Molly Pitcher. School librarian Mildred Peck and Deborah Williams, Children’s Program Coordinator for the Jemez Springs Public Library, coordinated the weekly program.
Readers who finished at least three books from the list then voted for their favorite, and their votes were added to those from around the state to choose the Land of Enchantment Book of the Year. For more information on the ongoing Land of Enchantment Book Award Program, go to http://www.loebookaward.com.
The event program featured the poster on the cover and information about each of the authors.
From Jemez Thunder, October 1, 2003
The authors’ symposia that have been offered to residents of the Jemez Valley by the Friends of the Library for the past three years are incredibly exciting. It is stimulating, mind-expanding, marvelous beyond words to listen to well-known authors discuss their work, their philosophy, and their ultimate goals.
Every year I come away thinking “How can something this exotic be offered – at no charge, even – in this small community? How do we persuade authors of the stature of John Nichols (The Milagro Beanfield War) or Demetria Martinez (who got into trouble with the U.S. Government back in the ‘80s for her political views) and Rina Swentzell, well-known writer, potter and weaver from Santa Clara Pueblo, to take the time and make the effort to visit our small spot on the planet?”
We may not always agree with their views, and we may not understand or appreciate everything they write, but we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to listen to lively dialogue and to interact through “question and answer” with noteworthy contemporary literary figures. Our very own N. Scott Momaday, who is a prize-winning novelist, poet, artist, literary critic and PBS commentator, is an excellent moderator. What a wonderful new auditorium the high school enjoys in which to display such talent also!
My awe at our good fortune expands to wonder why on Earth the high school teachers do not encourage their students to attend these august affairs with the logical inducement of extra credit. Indeed, how many teachers attend? (I spotted Rudolfo Anaya and his wife in the audience; but he, alas, doesn’t exactly count as a local educator).
The same lack of support from the school teachers, principals and committee members is true for the Jemez Valley Concert Association’s presentations. On Saturday evening Oct. 4, the Albuquerque Boy Choirs will be in concert at the Presbyterian Church. The cost is a minimal $5 for adults and $2.50 for children. What golden opportunities are offered to the public, and especially to our youth, to hear and watch a variety of excellent musicians of all sorts bring to our community something a little different from pop, rap, and rock and roll! There are at least four or five concerts every year, and so many people don’t bother to explore the possibilities, or encourage their youngsters to try something different and “educational.”
I write to urge everyone to at least give these cultural events a try just once. I can almost guarantee your first visit won’t be your last.
The event program featured the poster on the cover and information about the authors and sponsors.
From Jemez Thunder, September 01, 2003
This pamphlet shows the services and programs the library offered in 2003.
Battle of the Books is a reading contest held in many states. Sponsored in this state by the New Mexico Library Association, it is held in a different city each year. Schools and libraries coach teams, who must remember details about a selected list of 20 books. The library team was selected of students from Jemez Valley Elementary School who attended practice sessions. The 2003 battle was held in Las Cruces on March 17.