The Hobbs Public Library has proven to be a valuable resource for Carley Pettigrew and her homeschooled brood — Henry, 10, Porter, 6, and Clare, 4.
And it offered a welcome respite to the family when they moved to Hobbs in 2020 so dad, Kyle, could take an engineering job at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant west of Hobbs.
“When we moved here, it was during the coronavirus shutdowns,” Carley said. “But the library was open, so it was nice for us, to be able to come and get books.
“I love libraries anyway. But we really loved that it was open, it was something we could still do when we moved here.”
That’s why, at its Aug. 2 meeting, the Hobbs Public Library Board of Directors voted unanimously to name the Pettigrew clan as Library Patrons of the Year.
Library Director Sandy Farrell told the board last week the family was nominated and selected by secret ballot from the library staff.
“This family visits the library and checks out materials regularly,” an unnamed staff member wrote in the nomination, Farrell told the board. When considering a family or individual to nominate, librarians look for someone who “uses the library and treats materials well.”
When informed they’d been selected as Family of the Year, Carley said, “I teared up a little bit, to be honest, that they even thought of us. I just felt really honored they chose us.”
“Yeah, it was cool to be picked,” Henry said.
The Pettigrew’s moved to Hobbs from Bakersfield, Calif., but they’re not strangers to New Mexico. Both Kyle and Carley are originally from Farmington, she said.
The children love the summer reading programs, other reading programs and the variety of tales and stories they can find at the Hobbs Public Library, they said. The kids are there with mom every week, finding new adventures in the pages of the thousands of books on the library shelves, Carley said.
“The summer reading program is fun,” said Porter.
Younger sister Clare agreed.
“I like the books. My favorites are the Barbie books, Peppa Pig and Curious George. I like that I get to read them with my mom,” she said.
Heny’s a little more adventurous, being the oldest of the three. He enjoys science fiction, including his latest interest, Yokai, with tales of mythical creatures out of Japanese folklore whose behavior ranges from mischievous to friendly and even helpful.
“I like reading a bunch of different books,” Henry said. “It’s helping me to become a better reader.”
But entertainment isn’t the only reason the Pettigrew clan enjoys the Hobbs Public Library. They use the computers, books and research material to supplement their homeschool curriculum, as well as answer everyday questions that come up, Carley said.
When a friend of the family was diagnosed with a health issue in the lungs, for example, “Clare asked, ‘But what are lungs?’” Carley said. “So we came to the library and got books about the lungs. When we were studying oceans we could come and pick out books about the oceans.
“The kids have learned how to use the computers and search for books. They can go pick out books that look like they want to read. I love that part.”
The Pettigrew kids aren’t the only ones who enjoy the Hobbs Public Library. Carley, too, said she enjoys reading. But it’s tough to find time to just sit down with a book, raising and homeschooling three children.
The Hobbs Library offers access to audio books through its website, accessible with a free library card, which Carley has found herself turning more toward recently. While she’s working around the house, cooking, washing dishes or folding laundry, for example, she’ll, “have my earbuds in and listen. I can still read.
“I love to read. I feel like, coming here and having my kids be able to come and pick books they love, they’ll develop that love of reading,” she said. “I always tell them knowledge is something nobody can take away from you and reading gives you more knowledge. The more knowledge you have, the better person you can become.”
Carley hopes her children will carry on their love of reading as they grow, eventually expanding their interest to classic literature. But, even now, she said, the kids are being exposed to classic children’s stories, like Charlotte’s Web, which Carley said she never read as a child.
And she’s enjoying hearing and sharing those stories along with — and as much as — her kids.
“I think I’ll eventually push them towards the classics,” she said. “I think they enjoy them when we read them together.
“I feel they’ve come to an appreciation for literature (with the help of the Hobbs Public Library). They might not grow up to love Shakespeare, for example, but they’ll be able to pick it up and read it and appreciate it. Once they have an appreciation for books and learning, I feel they’ll be more willing to pick something up and read it and gain something from that.”