FARMINGTON — Library staff at Piedra Vista High School were recently honored with an award for their efforts in generating interest in literacy with student programs and classroom lessons.

The New Mexico Library Association recognized the school with the Outstanding School Library award for 2013.

Librarian Margie Sartin said it was important for her to make the school library a quality community space for students to study and read.

"I'm really excited our library is being recognized," Sartin said. "It's important to show we have quality facilities in Farmington."

Piedra Vista Principal Anne Gattis said Sartin has brought literacy to the forefront for the school, sponsoring a number of writing programs and educating students about properly using the Internet for research purposes.

"She is very good with electronic media and sharing with our staff and students," Gattis said. "She has trained everybody how to access, utilize and verify electronic media sites to help students write research papers in their classes."

When Sartin joined the school staff in 2010, she wanted to establish a "virtual presence" for the library. With every high school students in Farmington assigned a laptop, promoting electronic resources like databases and education about information literacy became a top priority.

"It was just about selecting books before, but, now, it's harvesting websites and bringing them in and putting them out in a way that is helpful to students," Sartin said.


"I'll watch what's happening in the classroom and what research topics they are working on and compile research guides for use."

Sartin travels to classrooms across the campus, teaching about 100 sessions a year about evaluating information on the Internet and verifying the authenticity of sources to use in class projects.

Along with building electronic resources for the library, Sartin said she has worked to bring published authors to speak to the students and to share the joys of reading and writing.

"The thing is to bring the library alive to kids and not be a warehouse of books for kids," Sartin said. "It's not just checking books in and out, it's got to be part of their lives."

One highlight for Sartin was having author Craig Childs host a writing workshop with a group of students. He edited their work and, at the same time, finalized the last draft of his book "Apocalyptic Planet."

"He was sending pieces of his last draft to his editor in New York during breaks," Sartin said.

Childs returned last semester and spoke to the school about the book. It was the only school stop on his book tour.

When Navajo code talker Chester Nez visited the school to talk about his book "Code Talker," the students staged a reenactment of a Navajo code transmission during the assembly.

Library assistant Julie Wood said she loves seeing Sartin's excitement for teaching.

"She brings in so many interesting people and projects for our library. It's a big draw for the kids and positive for the community," Wood said.

As for Sartin, she said she hopes to keep up with students and their grasp on new technology.

"I got to keep up with the kids," she said. "They know where technology is taking us. It's where they live, and I have to be there."

Joshua Kellogg may be reached at; 505 564-4627. Follow him on Twitter @jkelloggdt.