love your library 2012

February is a busy time at UNM-Taos

By Bill Knief

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Library Lovers’ Month, the American Library Association’s annual celebration of school, public and private libraries is upon us once again, and for the eighth year UNM-Taos Library is hosting its open house, called “Love Your Library” on February 10.

In the spirit of the Town of Taos 2012 marketing theme, the subject this year is “Honoring Remarkable Women Authors from UNM-Taos” with guest speakers UNM-Taos lecturers Bonnie Lee Black and Mirabai Starr.

Writer, editor and artisan Bonnie Lee Black has won three Gourmand International Awards and is the author of the recently published “How to Cook a Crocodile”. Mirabai Starr is a writer and translator who has written more than ten books.

Library Information Specialist Enrico Trujillo explained that in years past the event was mostly about raising money for the library, but this year it was more of a “friend raiser”.

We just want to invite the community in to see our space, have some refreshments and get to know us. Of course, if someone would like to write us a check, we wouldn’t turn it down. In fact, people can even make donations online now through the Circle of Giving. Anyone making a donation at Love Your Library qualifies for a door prize. But this event is mostly to remind folks that although we primarily serve UNM-Taos students and faculty, we also serve the larger community as well. Our collection and research services are available to anyone who wants to come in and get a library card. Our head librarian Kathleen Knoth has been very open about how we can help out the community.”

Assistant librarian Ana Pacheco mentioned that refreshments were being catered by Mondo Kultur and the UNM-Taos culinary arts program, and Dazzling Delights is providing cupcakes.

I hope we get a good crowd wanting to get to know us,” Pacheco said. “Mirabai Starr and Bonnie Lee Black are exceptional authors and teachers, and a lot of people in the community know them from taking their classes through UNM-Taos. It should be an exceptional event from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, February 10th.”

Last week Executive Director Dr. Kate O’Neill announced that this year’s All State Scholar and member of the scholastic fraternity Phi Theta Kappa is UNM-Taos student Aldo Ospino.

That award entitles him to four consecutive semesters of tuition-free education at the New Mexico four year institution of his choice,” O’Neill said. “That’s quite an accomplishment and we are very proud to have him represent UNM-Taos throughout the state .

He is an excellent example of adult learners who come to community colleges to improve their career opportunities and better themselves both academically and personally. It also helps us as a community when people improve their lives and continue to move toward their goals.”

Apparently, quite a few Taosenos have decided to improve their lives this semester at UNM-Taos. Despite budget cuts that forced many classes to close, we now have the largest student body in the history of UNM-Taos, and it looks like we might just be the fastest growing community college in the state when the final enrollment report comes in.

From a start of 350 students, we now have nearly 1,700,” O’Neill maintained. “And in credit hours, we went from 13,641 last year to 14,203 this spring. I think it speaks to the quality of our credit offerings as well as the quality of our faculty, along with our robust partnerships with schools and businesses in the community. But most of all, this tremendous response is due to the determination of Taosenos to do what it takes to better their lives through education.

But we also must be reminded that there are still people out there who maintain that community colleges are not that important. The Governor’s finance department, the DFA, or Department of Finance Administration, for instance, recommended zero money for capital improvements for all of the two year schools in the state this session. Coming on top of a two-year moratorium on new construction, the message is clear that the governor’s office considers community colleges non-essential and their mission not important.”

It would be interesting to see what the 1,693 students currently enrolled in the UNM-Taos spring semester had to say about the DFA’s low opinion of community colleges.

In contrast, our legislators, particularly Senator Cisneros and Representative Gonzales, are very strong advocates for education,” O’Neill reminded. “Please let them know you agree.”

One final note: The UNM-Taos Nursing Program is hosting a site review for accreditation of its ADN-RN program. Community members are invited to meet the onsite visiting team and share your comments about the program in person at a meeting February 22, 2012 from 2-4 on the UNM-Taos Klauer Campus in room 107 in Padre Martinez Hall. Written comments can be emailed to

About The Bill Knief