CENTER— While Lupita Ortega may be Fyock Library’s new librarian, she is not new to Center Schools, having worked as the Haskin Elementary receptionist for many years. But after retiring from her receptionist job, Lu, as she is affectionately known, gladly came back for more, realizing her library dream job.
“I’ve wanted to be a librarian since I was a kid,” Ortega said. “Now I get to do what I’ve wanted to do all my life before I finally retire.”
Ortega said she worked with long-time high school librarian Cheryl Garcia and former head librarian Perfecta Guadiana all last year to help train for her new job, but also learned “a lot” from former librarian Mary Lou Fyock before she retired. The library is named for Fyock, who spent over 30 years as head librarian for Center Schools.
Guadiana was a fixture in the library for over 20 years. She began her career in the old White House Public Library, before the building had to be demolished owing to age and asbestos contamination. At first Saguache County Commissioners wanted to simply close the library, Garcia said, but former Center Schools Superintendent George Welsh worked a deal with them to make the school library open to the community.
When Guadiana and Garcia retired this May, Superintendent Carrie Zimmerman commended both women for “teaching our students the love of reading and being an ongoing support for staff. We will definitely miss their presence, but we are grateful for the years they served our students and community.”
But after her retirement, Garcia followed her new boss’s lead and decided to come back part-time to keep Ortega company. Garcia took over as head librarian for the high school library when Fyock retired “sometime before 2000,” she said. At one point she moved to the elementary library until the new school was built. She has worked at the new library for five or six years.
Some of Ortega’s duties include compiling the library’s budget and reporting to the school board and Center Schools administration, attending budget and other meetings, making out schedules and many other tasks. Center School’s library receives a modest stipend for the library each year from Saguache County commissioners.
Garcia checks out books and enters them into the system. She also helps order new books and basically assists Ortega for the two days a week she works at the library.
New books are ordered every year. Last year the two librarians spent grant money awarded the library on a whole new non-fiction section. The section is still being reorganized as school begins. As older books are discarded and newer ones take their place, the old books and movies are placed on the “free” cart for library patrons to take home. Also available for borrowing and even taking are the “little library books” placed at the entrance to the library building.
“I invite parents to come in with their children and read some of our new books,” Ortega said in closing her interview. She emphasized the importance of parents encouraging their children to develop a love of reading.
Fyock Library is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ortega or Garcia can be reached at 754-2820.