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Public library celebrates 80 years in Hobbs

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Observing 80 years of service to the community, Hobbs Public Library officials celebrated on Tuesday.

“We’re all proud of our library,” said Library Director Sandy Farrell on Monday.

Libraries have changed over the years, from card catalogues that Farrell says she remembers fondly to modern computer-based catalogues. Books galore are supplemented with DVDs and audio material, a computer lab and a children’s activity section.

Constructed on land donated in 1936, the Hobbs Public Library was originally a 2,000-square-foot pueblo style building with only one employee, librarian Marjorie Woods. The library opened its doors on Aug. 21, 1939, and was dedicated in November of that year.

The Clinton family donated the land to the city specifying that it must be used for a park, a playground and a library, all of which are still on site, Farrell said.

“Over the years, the building, staff and collection have expanded greatly,” Farrell added.

The first remodeling of the library occurred in 1967, bringing its size to 15,800 square feet, followed in 1985 with an even greater expansion to more than 40,000 square feet.

“The library still sits in the heart of Clinton Park as originally specified by the donating family, and there’s still the park out front the city maintains with nice play equipment,” Farrell said.

The most recent remodeling occurred in 2012-13, with a “grand reopening” held in the fall of 2013.

“We have 16 employees now, three of whom are part time. The remainder of the employees are full time,” Farrell said.

To reminisce over the changes and achievements, Farrell invited four people to speak briefly to the attendees at the celebration: Sharon Wise, a 29-year employee; Cris Adams, retired library director after 28 years; Carolina Greene, longtime Hobbs Library Board member and patron; and Kay Hannum, Friends of the Library chairwoman and longtime library patron.

The event was held on the first floor of the library, with activities for kids set up downstairs in the children’s section and the Friends of the Library staffing their store.

In a city news release, Farrell said, “Over the years, so many things have changed at the library just since I started in 2011. We now have the virtual reality class, weekly programs for all ages, and countless resources to information, education, and adventure. We are proud to safeguard these resources in our community and provide quality customer service to our neighbors, always willing to assist them. We invite all to join us in this celebration that only happens once!”

Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb added, “The Hobbs Public Library has been an outstanding facility for not only education, learning, and exploration, but for the arts as well.”

Cobb cited the Public Arts Committee’s commissioning the 9’3” by 4’5” painting named ‘The Light of Learning’ behind the circulation desk at the library, and three renderings commissioned to create the artist’s vision for the project hanging in city buildings.

“In addition, the bronze sculpture named ‘The Learning Curve’ that sits at the NE corner of Clinton Park was one of first projects that the Public Arts Committee, Friends of the Library Board, and Library Staff worked on together,” Cobb said. “I commend the staff and the board on running a successful, innovative operation at the Hobbs Public Library and always looking to do more.”

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