Columbus village library providing worldwide service – The Deming Headlight

Area is at a premium contained in the Village of Columbus’ public library, but the scope of its providers transcends its small bodily dwelling and encompasses a global border.

A full historical past of the constructing at 112 Broadway proves elusive, nevertheless it is called the previous dwelling of the Pink Pony saloon and, later, as a bar and restaurant named for Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. The library’s foremost studying room, oriented round a brick hearth, was the situation of the unique bar. Constantine mentioned the kernel of the constructing dates again to 1955, however she suspects components of the construction are older. The inside of the library is split by what seems to be an exterior adobe wall.

Within the mid-Nineteen Nineties, the constructing turned state property within the wake of a legal investigation into its previous house owners. Constantine mentioned New Mexico offered the constructing to the village for $1 with the proviso that it set up a public library inside two years. After renovations, the library was devoted in 1998.

Early in its life, earlier than dwelling computer systems and cellular gadgets had been commonplace, the library was one of many solely sources for digital gadgets on the town. The room some locals nonetheless confer with as “the pc room” as soon as had 30 computer systems, largely donated and refurbished domestically, prepared for service. As we speak, the library gives high-speed WiFi service — 200 megabits per second — far superior to what most residents can get at dwelling.

Alec Herrera of Columbus, 10, visits the Columbus Village Library on Dec. 28. (Headlight workers picture by Algernon D’Ammassa)

The shortage of stable high-speed broadband in southern Luna County is obvious within the library’s most sought-after merchandise: bodily DVDs line two partitions and refill aisle cabinets as effectively, with 1,410 in circulation final fiscal 12 months in comparison with 1,077 books.

The library is open for 66 hours hours Monday via Saturday, staying open till 7 p.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. on Saturdays, overseen by a workers of two plus one part-timer and volunteers. Within the 2021-22 fiscal 12 months, the library welcomed 12,642 guests with 539 card holders. There have been 1,351 laptop use classes and 92,323 WiFi classes (together with these accessing the sign from exterior).

These numbers are literally low, Constantine mentioned, reflecting decreased visitors over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020. Sitting within the village heart close to New Mexico Freeway 9, connecting Texas and Arizona on a southern route parallel to the border, Constantine mentioned the library as soon as drew guests from all over the world, lots of whom would signal for playing cards and borrow objects for 2 weeks earlier than transferring on to different locations.

Residency in Columbus just isn’t a requirement for cardholders. Constantine mentioned Deming residents continuously go to to borrow books or DVDs and use the WiFi, as do residents of Puerto Palomas south of the Columbus Port of Entry with Mexico, lower than 4 miles from the library.

“We spend numerous our time displaying folks how one can use their telephones, serving to them to print stuff,” Constantine mentioned.

“There’s an enormous shift to e-books and audiobooks,” Constantine added, noting the library has been selling the “Libby” cellular app that permits debtors to entry these digital supplies.

“Paloma’s Nook” is the newly outfitted youngsters’s play house on the Columbus (NM) Village Library. (Headlight workers picture by Algernon D’Ammassa)

Not too long ago the library closed quickly for some refurbishments. The College of New Mexico’s Early Childhood Companies Heart provided $2,000 to arrange a youngsters’s play nook with toys, furnishings and a rug from Lakeshore Studying, which produces early childhood studying supplies; and Constantine took the chance to drag up some previous carpeting — a entice for microbes and odors — and set up new laminate flooring within the new “Paloma’s Nook” in addition to within the studying room. Over time, the library has additionally been including air purifiers and new couches and chairs.

Work on the library has revealed glimpses of the constructing’s historical past.

“We really had a gap within the flooring within the nook,” Constantine mentioned, gesturing towards the brand new play space. “There was a trapdoor that had rotted via below the carpet.” The trapdoor led to a small sub-basement Constantine believes was used for storage by the previous cantina.

That discovery uncovered a radon fuel leak which had been addressed previously, however the renovation revealed a spot that was permitting some fuel nonetheless to flee. This was repaired earlier than the laminate flooring and play nook had been put in, Constantine mentioned.

“There have been all types of tales about what was down there,” she mentioned, however added the house didn’t lengthen below the whole constructing nor maintain any lurid discoveries.

The library has centered on making the 24-year-old library a haven reasonably than a historic monument, though Constantine admits she desires to know extra of the curious construction’s historical past.

“What folks need is for the constructing to look previous on the surface and new on the within,” she added, earlier than helping a customer attempting to determine the Libby app.

Algernon D’Ammassa will be reached at [email protected]

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