Virginia Mattingly comes to Dolores via Angel Fire, New Mexico, where she was director for the Shuter Library.
Before that she was a librarian and associate professor of legal bibliography at the University of Louisville law library for 10 years. Mattingly has a master’s degree in library sciences from the University of Hawaii.
“My first impression is the great staff and a beautiful library,” she says of her first week on the job. “I love the sense of community of small towns, and Dolores has been very welcoming.”
Her immediate plans are to settle in, observe library operations and get to know the community. All current programs will continue.
“I’m getting to know staff and the patrons,” she said. “The staff has been taking on extra duties during the transition, so we are getting back to normal operations.”
Some of her early goals will be to hire a new webmaster and to network with libraries in Mancos and Cortez, and to partner with the Dolores School library.
Mattingly is also interested in creating a business center within the library.
“There is a real demand for meeting space and video conferencing not just for home-based businesses but for people traveling through,” she said.
The Dolores library is well known for children programs, and recently added adult events such as the Winter Tales, which features presentations by local adventurers and artists.
Mattingly said the next step is to expand programs for teens, such as game-instruction education technology. The graphic novel collection is another way the library is getting teens and young adults interested in reading and literature.
“Youths are so accustomed to computers, so the goal is to get them to pick up a book!” she says. “Graphic novels evolved from comic books but use illustration combined with more advanced reading levels and plots.”
Mattingly said today’s libraries balance new technology services with the more traditional best-seller shelves and research stacks.
“We have great Southwest and archeology sections, a large DVD collection, and soon patrons will be able to check out Kindles,” she said.
She sees rural libraries as essential learning institutions, but also as community centers for social interaction and organizing.
“Public libraries are the great equalizer,” she said. “We provide good internet service that is not always available in rural areas. We offer a safe place to gather, learn and study where everyone is welcome and most everything is free.”
When not running the library, Mattingly loves to downhill ski, hike and go on road trips exploring the area.