By RICK MIRANDA
Back in the early nineties, before the Los Alamos Mesa Public Library moved over from Central Avenue, next to the Post Office, into its current location one of the big noises being made by people in favor of the move was the lack of space for books in the old spot. The move was made, and two or three years ago thousands of non-fiction books were chucked off of the library’s shelves….. many, many rows worth, about six feet high.
A lot of these were fantastic books. So much for more space! The White Rock branch was similarly diminished. An avid reader, I can’t go into the Mesa Public Library or the White Rock Branch now without being disheartened by just how dumbed-down the selection has become. The purging of these books is, lamentably, only one of the many examples of things once great in our town that have been likewise dulled.
I recall with somewhat comic bitterness the day somewhere around the year 2003 when, while taking a walk about 10 a.m. past Chamisa School, I happened upon a ribbon-cutting ceremony where county officials were gathered to slap themselves on the back for their participation in the finishing (off) of the Mountain Meadows Playlot (once-upon a time alias: Cinderella Park). As I stared at the puny, generic, gutless, soul-less, heartless tinker-toy like joke that had replaced the imaginative wonderland that had once existed there I could only sneer at the stupidity that had led to such an act, one not isolated, as all the county’s once wonderous parks have been dumbed down and gutted of the substance that made us little kids ooh and ah over, and eagerly play in them in the early seventies.
So, Rocket Park, already gutted of its substance, stands poised for further decimation as a new library, hyped by its cheerleaders as a potential snare for tourists and their money, is being prepared by county officials who have taken their eye off the ball of what a library is supposed to do for its users, and what a park is hoped to be for kids. The current location of the library is central and accesible to a great many people in White Rock. So many times when driving from my house on Bryce I have seen people walking on the streets, and then see them moments later entering the library. This will be diminished if the library is moved, as many of these people are older folks who probably won’t be up for the longer walk to the outskirts of town.
As well, libraries, at least in the old days, were known to be places of quiet, where solitude could facilitate concentration. Gearing up the new one as a tourist trap would neccesarily place the library in the loudest part of town, right next to the road noise of State Road 4 and the very often noisy Smith’s parking lot.
One of the greatest things that was lost when Mesa Public Library moved to its curent location was the sense of community that was fostered within the old building. It had a large, spacious reading area with a nice view that was perfectly conductive to both solitude and lots of company, both at the same time. It was great for reading and great for sitting down and just being, amidst numerous other townsfolk with similar such intentions. The new library, with all its structural ambition and sprawl, sadly, and to many people lamentably, destroyed that forever.
I can’t say that the White Rock branch ever had this particular attribute, but, on its own scale, I do believe that the White Rock Library will lose much of its benevolent character if commercial, money-making considerations take precedence over the need to provide White Rockians with a library that has convenience as well as substance. There are some things money can’t buy, and in cases like the old Mesa Public Library, money eventually buys the destruction of too much good to even want to think about.
Frankly, I realize my commentary is for the most part pointless. I have seen that the people who so wish to commercialize Los Alamos and draw money to it just cannot see what I learned so well from watching the destruction of the music business, and its takeover, from music-men, by risk-timid, and gutless MBA’s and lawyers. If you just count the beans, you tend to overlook where the soul really is, and you discard it, ultimately winding up with glitzy, superficial garbage.
Rest in Peace,
Cowboys and Indians Park
Signed: Rick Miranda