Ever wonder that the old large building with a heading of S.P.M.D.T.U. next to Martin's General Store was all about? Well, now you will have a chance to know the history of this organization. On Saturday, May 7, 2011 at 1:00 pm the El Rito Library will be hosting a short lecture and booksigning. There will also be a table with information on how to sign up to be a member by local community members (Hermanos).
In 1900 Celedonio Mondragon and several other San Luis Valley residents formed this organization to help prevent the usurpation of Hispanic land ownership and to combat discrimination against wage laborers. The SPMDTU rapidly grew into a tri-state organization with sixty-five local concilios (lodges) in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. Hispanic mutual aid socieites proliferated at the turn of the twentieth century, providing such services as financial aid, burial funding, low-cost insurance, and fraternal support. The SPMDTU consolidated relief and support services and became a powerful force in helping families survive the transformations wrought by the influx of Anglos, the federal government, and new technologies. In the early twentieth century, the federal government became the primary welfare service provider for rural communities, but the SPMDTU has survived in the Southwest, continuing its traditions of fellowship and support.
The book, "LA SOCIEDAD - Guardians of Hispanic Culture Along the Rio Grande" was authored by Jose A. Rivera who is a research scholar at the Center for Regional Studies, University of New Mexico, and a professor of planning at UNM’s School of Architecture and Planning. Rivera is also the author of Acequia Culture: Water, Land, and Community in the Southwest (UNM Press). Daniel Salazar, whose photos are featured throughout this book, lives in Denver, where he is a member of La Sociedad’s Council No. 7. Salazar is a media artist and regularly exhibits his work in galleries, arts centers, and museums. Jacket illustrations. Front: Portrait of La Sociedad founder.
The book will sell for $35.00 and royalties generated by books sales will go towards the El Rito Library and the SPMDTU Concilio Superior Building Conservation Fund (located in Antonito, Colorado).
On Saturday, April 30, 2011 starting at 1:00 pm the El Rito Library will be hosting the national celebration of kids and books. We also will have a special guest - Indiana Bones and his Dragon Draco will be entertaining the kids for about an hour. You can see his video right here: www.storyteller.net/tellers/mmccartney
Don’t miss this rollicking adventure with a master storyteller! Enjoy magical storytelling, cake and punch and plenty of surprises! Travel on a journey through time with our very own New Mexican Indy as he combines archeology, action, adventure, legends, mythology and folklore to take us to a long ago place. Learn about the ancient stories of Greece, Rome, and our more recent ancestors in Mesoamerica and North America. Indy will thrill and educate us with artifacts, fossils, lively puppets and a crack of his bullwhip!
We are gearing up for our 25th Anniversary on May 5th so we need help cleaning the library and the grounds. Come volunteer on Saturday, April 16, 2011 starting at 10:00 am until 5:00 pm for one hour or one-half hour and help dust the bookshelves, wash windows, clean the computer stations, etc. Any help is appreciated. We will serve light refreshments and drinks. All cleaning supplies will be available. Thank You!
On Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 7:00 pm, the El Rito Library will be hosting an evening of Concert, Coffee and Cake. We welcome Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost, of the popular Albuquerque group - A Hawk and a Hacksaw, joined by musicians Samuel Johnson and George Lawler from Chicago, who are kind enough to stop in and perform a benefit concert for us while touring the west coast to promote their CD - "Cervantine".
A Hawk and a Hacksaw are known for their live performances with one-of-a-kind instrumentals which features Jeremey on accordian/percussion/vocals, Heather on violin/stroh violin/vocals, Samuel on trumpet/percussion, and George on doumbek/percussion. Described as Eastern European folk-based with an eclective/classical bent, their music is lively, uniquely soulful and "seeks to create an ecstatic sound much like the village bands of old-virtuosity is appreciated but not over-emphasized".
The music of A Hawk and a Hacksaw was recently featured in the international art house film "Exit Through the Giftshop" by British artist, Banksy. Having lived in Europe and the UK for some years, they moved back to their native New Mexico in 2008, and since have toured in Europe, Australia, Israel, and Turkey. Some highlights of the group include selling out the Outpost performance space in Albuquerque in the fall of 2009, and being voted the best live music performance at the Brighton Fringe Festival in Brighton, England in 2007.
To view a video from the "Cervantine" CD and other A Hawk and Hacksaw clips, visit YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYjfBZxhUzU and/or learn more about the group by visisting www.ahawkand ahacksaw.net.
We will honor the group on their way to playing 10 dates in the UK this April by serving European "Coffee and Cake" to enjoy with this after-dinner concert (tea will be served as well). There will be a raffle held for those in attendance to win free A Hawk and a Hacksaw CD - we hope to see you there! This is a Fundraising and Donation Event - Pay as you will. For more information, contact the Library at 575-581-4608.
On Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 4:00 pm the El Rito Library will be hosting a Reading and Booksigning Event by Gabriel Meléndez, PhD, University of New Mexico; and joining him are Valerie Martinez, Poet Laureate of Santa Fe in 2009 and Carmela Padilla.
Gabriel Meléndez has been Professor of American Studies since 2002. He is a literary, social and cultural critic with research interests in ethnic and cultural representations in film, autobiography, ethnopoetics and ethnocritical theory. His teaching and research interests overlap across three American Studies concentrations: Cultural Studies, Southwest Studies and Race, Class and Ethnicity. He has been the recipient of a Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship and several other research grants including awards from the New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities, Center for Regional Studies (UNM) and the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project (University of Houston).
His first book, (UNM, 1997) has recently been reprinted by the University of Arizona under the title, "So All is Not Lost: The Poetics of Print in Nuevomexicano Communities, 1836-1958" Spanish-Language Newspapers in New Mexico, 1836-1958 (2005). In addition, he is co-editor of The Multicultural Southwest: A Reader (Arizona, 2001) and Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage: Volume VI (2006). His other works include Reflexiones del Corazón (1993) [a portfolio of images and texts produced with Miguel Gandert and María Baca for the Tamarind Institute] and The Biography of Casimiro Barela (UNM, 2003). He and his co-editors Rosalie Otero and Enrique Lamadrid have recently completed work on Santa Fe Native: An Anthology of Nuevomexicano Writing, a issued by UNM Press in 2010, the four hundredth anniversary of the founding of Santa Fe.
The author of several articles and chapter-length studies, Meléndez is currently engaged in new work on ethnic film representations and readying a new manuscript, “Film Dramas in New Mexico: Cultural Encounters On and Off the Screen” for publication. Meléndez is on the board of directors of the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project, serves on the editorial board of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, and is a general editor for the Pasó por aquí Series on New Mexican Hispanic Letters at UNM Press.
Meléndez teaches graduate seminars on autobiography and ethnic life writing, Latino/a-Chicano/a film, critical regionalism and the politics of identity in the Southwest.
What a great way to start off a new year (and a new decade)! We have just sent in the last installment payment for the land and building. Here is a little history on the legal battle and how we paid off the $30,000 debt:
The original land (one acre) was donated by Abel and Petrolina Lucero to be used for educational purposes. 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.
The legal battle started 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.
Many thanks to everyone involved in making this milestone happen!
The Board of Directors and the Staff would like to thank everyone who supported the El Rito Library this year (and years past) in monetary donations; volunteering; donating items for our 5th Annual Live/Silent Auction; donating books, etc.
Everyone here at the El Rito Library want to wish everyone a PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!
Hey Kids - Santa Claus is coming to the Library on Saturday December 18, 2010. The Christmas Party will start at 12:00 noon until 2:00 pm and Old Saint Nick will be here sometime during the party. Come have fun by playing games, making ornaments for the tree, or just eating some goodies.
Hope to see you here!