The Hobbs Public Library could have a new director as soon as the middle of May.
Bob Hamilton, interim library director, told the HPL Board on Tuesday the city has made an offer to one of the three finalists for the position. City Manager Manny Gomez told the News-Sun on Wednesday Nicki Lawless, a librarian from the Pueblo City-County Library District in Pueblo, Colo., has accepted the position pending completion of pre-employment paperwork, including a drug screening and background check.
If she’s successful, Lawless would fill the position left vacant by the departure of long-time director Sandy Farrell, who submitted her resignation in late November after 11 years at the helm of HPL.
Lawless could not be contacted for comment.
Lawless was selected from a field of three candidates, Hamilton told the board in March. The other candidates were from New Mexico and Texas, and each were initially interviewed via Zoom meeting before being invited to Hobbs for in-person interviews, he said.
“All the candidates … invited were what we believed were candidates who met the needs of Hobbs Public Library today and into the future,” Gomez said Wednesday. “We believe (Lawless) had some ideas had some ideas that kind of had more of a fit to the city of Hobbs, the library, to its staff and to the direction of the future of the library.
“Libraries throughout the years have changed. Our Hobbs Library is very progressive in many areas and there’s many areas we need to improve upon. I felt (Lawless) was the candidate who could get us into the 21st century and further into the future of public libraries.
Gomez confirmed Lawless has accepted his offer to head HPL. Until she completes the pre-employment check — required because the library director works closely with children from the community — he would not go so far as to say Lawless is the next HPL director.
A tentative start day of May 15 has been set, Gomez said.
Hamilton also told the board planning is well underway for the upcoming Summer Reading Program at HPL. Registration runs May 30 through June 2 in the children’s department at the library, 509 N. Shipp St. in Hobbs.
Registration is free and is requested “just so we know how many kids will show up” so the library can make sure there are enough supplies and prizes for participants, Hamilton said.
The Summer Reading Program runs June 6 through June 30, he said. It is divided into three groups: The Readers for kindergarten through third grade, meeting 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays; The Thinkers for kindergarten through third grade, meeting 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesdays, and; The Dreamers, for fourth through sixth grade, meeting 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesdays.
The program includes several special presentations, Hamilton said, in addition to the regular weekly gatherings. Tickets are required for special programs due to limited seating space, he said. Tickets are free.
The events kick off from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 1 with Wonder on Wheels mobile museum, sponsored by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. Wonder on Wheels is a retrofit recreation vehicle with 300 square feet of displays on a variety of topics, including arts, culture, science and history.
Musician Andy Mason is scheduled to perform at 2 p.m. on June 8, followed by storyteller Judy Pancoast at 2 p.m. June 15.
The “Tall Paul Extravaganza” magic show returns to the Hobbs Public Library at 2 p.m. June 22. Ventriloquist and puppeteer Meghan Casey of Westminster, Colo., will bring her program, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” at 2 p.m. June 29.
The Summer Reading Program wraps up with Movie Day, scheduled for June 30, for readers who complete their summer reading folders. With the exception of Wonder on Wheels, which will set up on the street outside the library, are hosted in the HPL Meeting Room. Participants should enter via the north library entrance.