Point Me in the Direction of Cherry Hills

I know I’m dating myself, but for this report on the Cherry Hills branch of the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library System, I couldn’t resist referencing the old Partridge Family song.

Just west of the Sandia Crest, Albuquerque is a sprawling city with a lovely Old Town of adobe homes and businesses radiating out from a central tree shaded plaza.   

The Cherry Hills branch lies north of town, close to the tramway and snow covered mountains.  Opened in June 1998, the 15,000 square foot varicolored brick facility has two raised roof sections with high windows for natural light and is in a residential area near shopping.  Trees, bushes and a really tall yucca encircle the building and there’s a partially shaded outdoor seating area.  Used for summer reading programs and concerts it affords great views in all directions. 

The tiled lobby has free local magazines and continuing education brochures and the entrance to the meeting room.  Once inside there’s an easel promoting events and services, local brochures, tax forms and a new fiction shelf with staff picks.

Area Manager Leigh Turner, who manages Cherry Hills and oversees three other branches, was at the Information Desk training new hire Marina Maestas.  Leigh used to work in Colorado Springs, so we actually have some friends in common.   She was quite informative and told me they are getting RFID soon, but currently patrons scan barcodes at self check stations.   

The 16 adult computers are in an area bounded by a low wall; they have wifi and self pick up of holds.  They do individualized computer training and have introductory classes for the internet, Word, email… or users can use online modules to take the same classes from home. 

It’s a big open sunny space with a huge map of Albuquerque, paintings and tapestries on the walls, several reading spots and study carrels.  Two private rooms can be used by groups, for tutoring, or even for skyping. 

Blond wood furniture, shiny black slatted chairs and teal upholstered armchairs are by the magazines and paperback spindles and there’s a showcase of handmade books from artist Loraine E. Klinger.

(And here’s a book art contest idea.)  The website has ebooks, eaudiobooks and evideos so there are classes on how to download digital media.  There’s also an online guide and neophytes can go to Gizmo Garage to get hands on experience with a variety of ereaders.  

Their wide selection of databases includes the Foundation Center for grants, Value Line, Test Preparation and the Naxos Music Library. They have Tutor.com’s Live Homework Help for K-12 students and their Adult Education and Career Center – plus the system offers resume writing classes.

The Young Adult section has lots of graphic novels, comics and Manga.  Cushy chairs, hassocks and a big stuffed turtle are perfect for lounging YAs and they have a Teen Advisory Board.

ABC Libraries 😉 has 16 branches including one named after well known local mystery author Tony Hillerman.  The Special Collection branch is being renovated, so the Genealogy and Southwest History and New Mexico collections are currently being housed at the main library.   They’ve got a blog or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.  You can contact them online, or via SMS, phone or email.   

Below one of the sky lit sections of ceiling, tables and chairs are arranged to make a pleasant central reading area by a helpful office supply kiosk.

There’s a large DVD and audio book area and a New Reader shelf with dictionaries, Spanish language books and easy to read English titles.  Near the flip through music CD case, a copier surrounded by bulletin boards is a great way to advertise to a captive audience mindlessly making copies.

Cherry Hill’s programs for adults include book discussions, grown up storytime, craft classes, poetry circles, lectures and music recitals.

For the young ones, the Friends for the Public Library have Traveling Trunks they lend to schools.  Each box contains replicas of clothes and items from specific people and/or periods in history – e.g. the Depression, or a soldier from the Vietnam War.   They have resource books, maps, and a Teacher Resource Manual with lesson plans and supplementary materials too.

Youngsters have a choice of activities at the branch – mad science, book and chess clubs, preschool art, reading to dogs, and storytimes, of course.

A Reading Realm “roof” covers the entrance to Children’s where the top of the book cases hold paper castles, Clifford the Big Red Dog and red and gray foil origami swans. 

A blue elephant holds board books by bean bag chairs and a maroon three sided cushioned bench under a row of windows.   There are new book and paperback displays, nice overhead signs, and a number of toddlers were enjoying storytime in an enclosed area with a kitchen.

Which was why these wonderful reading spaces beneath the well lit stuffed animal corral were unoccupied.  Two recesses between the cubbies have children’s computers in them.

What an enjoyable place to spend the afternoon!

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