A Brief History of the El Rito Library

The original land (one acre) was donated by Abel and Petrolina Lucero to be used for educational purposes (date?).  At the time, a new elementary school was needed and the WPA program built a beautiful three classroom adobe schoolhouse.  The school was named "Placitas Elementary School" and was used until 1969 when a new elementary school was built.  Two rooms were added and the room we now call the community room was occupied by the El Rito Headstart Program and the Rio Arriba Senior Citizens Center occupied one of the original classrooms.  Las Clinicas del Norte did some renovations and moved in taking over all the other vacated rooms.  A new clinic was built and Las Clinicas del Norte moved out in 1999.

The El Rito Public Library was established on May 5, 1986 by Clinic Director, Andy R. Lopez, and Professional Librarian Betsy McIntosh.  It was a one-room library until 1999 (when Las Clinicas del Norte vacated) and then money was secured to renovate the space vacated.  The Library expanded and the Senior Citizens Center was still here.  When a new Community Center was built, the Senior Citizens Center moved out and the Library took over the whole building; but many renovations were needed.  We were delighted to get a grant on October 14, 2003 in the amount of $40,000 from the Helen and Will Webster Foundation out of California.   With this money we put a new roof and completely renovated what is now called the Fiction Room where the north wall had collapsed due to water seeping into the adobe wall.

A legal battle began when the heirs of Abel and Petrolina Lucero wanted to re-claim the land that their parents donated because they felt it was no longer being used for educational purposes.  The law firm of Montgomery and Andrews, P.A. (Tom Olson) helped the Library (Pro Bono) with the legal proceedings until there was a settlement agreement.  The Mesa Vista School District did not want the building because of its upkeep and they had no need for the building.  Andy R. Lopez (School Board President at the time), Myron (Mickey) Simmons (Library Board Treasurer), Tom Olson (Attorney at Montgomery and Andrews), and Raymond Lucero (Family Representative) all came to a settlement agreement that the Library would pay the Luceros $30,000 (which was the value of one acre at the time).  The agreement was that $15,000 would be paid initially and three yearly installments of $5,000 thereafter.

Andy R. Lopez (Director at Las Clinicas del Norte), John H. Caster (Library Board President); and Myron (Mickey) Simmons all drove to Santa Fe to meet with Owen M. Lopez (Executive Director) at the McCune Charitable Foundation.  Mr. Owen Lopez agreed to grant the library the initial $15,000.  The next two yearly installments were fund raised and the final installment was granted by the Helen and Will Webster Foundation.

MORE HISTORY coming soon


Posted on Monday, March 9, 2015 at 08:59AM by Registered CommenterEl Rito Library | CommentsPost a Comment

Our New Special Collections Cabinet

 The library is happy to announce the arrival of our long awaited Special Collections Cabinet. Former Board President John Caster envisioned having this cabinet at the Library.  Former President Janice Snellman spearheaded the project.  We never had envisioned how beautiful it would turn out to be!  We commissioned Eddie Maestas and The Spanish Colonial Woodworking Department of NNMC and are grateful for their masterful work to give home to rare books, artworks, books for sale and special editions of collected works.  We are now waiting on the donated Special Bound Collection of Patrick O'Brian "Aubrey–Maturin series", C. G. Jung's "The Red Book" and your ideas to fill this beautiful cabinet.  We will also be displaying items from local artists who truly support the Library.  Please visit our library to view all of the great Spanish Colonial Woodwork in our library and spend some time with us and these great bookworks!

Former Board Presidents:  John Caster and Janice Snellman
Present Board President:  Jim Harford




Posted on Friday, March 19, 2010 at 03:54PM by Registered CommenterEl Rito Library | CommentsPost a Comment

New Children’s Room

We are happy to announce that we have just completed our new Children's library room. We painted the children's table and bookshelves red, yellow and blue. All the children's books and videos have been shelved and ready to be taken out. We have little chairs for our little patrons to come in and sit and read/view books or they can lie down on the colorful ABC floor mat. We are still working on Grandma Rena's corner, but she continues to read every Saturday morning from 11:00 a.m. to noon. Parents, please bring you children to see this new area and get them involved in wanting to read. We have a great selection of children's books and we continue to get new ones every month. This library is all about you. Take advantage of the free service we offer our little patrons.

Posted on Wednesday, March 21, 2007 at 11:52AM by Registered CommenterEl Rito Library | CommentsPost a Comment

The Library Continues to Remodel the Library

Thank you, Terry Moffit for taking the helm of the remodelling and restoration of the library, making the bathrooms handicapped accessible, the community room more functional and the old seniors center restored with a natural earthen plaster with an excellent crew of local artisans. We hope to see the results for our anniversary party!
Renovations 2004/2005
Thanks to a generous grant from The Helen and Will Webster Foundation, a new roof was installed at the Library. Secondly, our northwest room is finished! After months and months of renovation activities, the northwest room is a true treasure. We succeeded in trying to keep the room as original as possible when it was an elementary school back in the late 30s and early 40s. With help of volunteers and contracted professionals, a new floor was put in; all four walls have a new mud plaster; new windows were installed; new heater; and new lighting have made this a beautiful room. The El Rito Library is currrently expanding its collections into this new room. If you haven’t seen it, come by the Library and we will be happy to show it to you. Thank you Sabra Moore for the design and leading the mud plaster workshop, Roger Mignon and Mike Edge for doing the floor, Geoff Griego’s plumbing crew for doing the herioc work of reconnecting ancient plumbing, Tony Valdez for doing the electric, Quentin Wilson’s adobe class and the many volunteers who helped put up the earthen plaster.

Posted on Friday, June 2, 2006 at 11:44AM by Registered CommenterEl Rito Library | CommentsPost a Comment

Celebrating 20 Years!


Come to EL RITO LIBRARY’S 20th Birthday Party!

10:00 am to 5:00 pm
El Rito Library
182 Placitas Road - Highway 215

Michael Hennerty singing traditional Irish Songs


BOOK READING BY “Grandma Rena”
The Library’s Book Grandma

Posted on Thursday, June 1, 2006 at 11:42AM by Registered CommenterEl Rito Library | CommentsPost a Comment

News Summary 2005

Ongoing Events from 2005

Story Time For Kids
Hey Kids! There is story time every Saturday morning starting at 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. here at the Library. Have your parents bring you and enjoy hearing some great stories.

Summer Arts Program For Children 2005

Thanks to a grant from the Santa Fe Children’s Foundation, we are hosting numerous workshops for our kids this summer. All workshops are free. Snacks and materials will be provided. For further informations or to sign up, call 581-4608 or 581-4780 or go to the El Rito Library.
Here’s a list of some of our workshops already underway:

  • retablo painting
  • drawing and painting
  • drawing and design concepts
  • traditional cooking
  • bookmaking
  • arts and crafts
  • tinwork
  • theatre
  • radio production
  • bicycle maintenance and repair

Other Events in 2005

The 19th Annual El Rito Studio Tour 2005
October 15 & 16, 2005
10 am - 6 pm
Please see the studio tour’s website at www.elritostudiotour.org

Everyone’s invited to the El Rito Library’s Annual
Pancake Breakfast
& Classic Car Show

This Saturday, June 18, 2005
El Rito Library 10-2
All you can eat for $4.00
Bring your classic car or truck and eat for free!
Joe Lopez, coordinator of car show, 581-4464
Questions? Call the library, 581-4608

Saturday June 4th, 10am
at the El Rito Public Library
Poet Man
Fun for the Whole Family

Hear a Rap version of the Raven.
Rhyme along with The Tyger.
You and your family will write poems.
Hear amazing stories. Have fun with word games.
Come One-Come All-Come Children of all Ages!
Come help put an end to the tragedy of blank pages.

4th Annual Community Cleanup
sponsored by the El Rito Library
Saturday, May 7, 2005
9:00 to 12:00 noon
Picnic immediately following cleanup at the Library Grounds.

As being part of the community, please get involved. THe trash along our roadways is getting worse. Please make a difference and participate this year. Let’s set an example to our chldren by getting involved. If you can’t come to the Library, pick up trash in front of your own private land by the road.

Come by the Library at 9:00 a.m. to pick up trash bags. Bring gloves. Any questions, call us at 581-4608.

April 13, 2005 , 7-9pm at the El Rito Library
Annual Board of Directors Meeting

At this meeting we will describe our activities and policies and take questions and suggestions from the floor. After this, we will seek a vote of confidence in the Membership of the Board. All individuals present at this meeting may vote. we will also be seeking additional members to be nominated from the community at large, which will be individuallly voted upon.

March 20, 2005

Alameda Press will be hosting a Poetry Reading here at the El Rito Library on March 20, 2005 from 3:00pm to 5:00 pm. The poetry readers will be Stefan Hyner and Jim Koller. Come join us, refreshments will be served.

Posted on Monday, December 26, 2005 at 11:29AM by Registered CommenterEl Rito Library | CommentsPost a Comment