First Person: Clovis librarian well-traveled

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Maria Layman helped come up with trivia questions about New Mexico, earning her Clovis High School library a set of 50 books.

Marla Layman, the Clovis High School librarian, studied the state of New Mexico and came up with 10 trivia questions about the state. Those questions won the CHS library a set of 50 books called “America the Beautiful.”

Contested contest: I found out about the contest in January of 2008. I thought, well, that shouldn’t be hard at all. I researched and researched and came up with a rough draft of 30 questions. Halfway through that, I was thinking is this worth it? It’s taking a lot of time. But we didn’t have books on the states at all. A lot of the students haven’t had the opportunity to leave the state so I thought the books would give them the opportunity to learn about the states. It’s not related to any school cirriculum, but it is related to our country so I thought it was important.

Family travelers: I’ve visited 44 states. I’ve lived in 17 cities in 8 states. My husband was in the Army and the Air Force and we moved to schooling also. We did our traveling on various vacations and traveling as we moved. I also traveled with my family when I was younger. Just adventures. We love adventures.

Pieces of her heart: I’ve left a little bit of my heart in all the places we’ve lived. My favorite place we’ve been to was Australia. It’s unique country. The wildlife was so different. The night sky was so different. We were there in June and July and it was winter.

Landing site: We ended up in Clovis because my husband trained with a doctor who wanted him to be a partner in a practice he was opening here. We got here just as my son was ready for kindergarten so he went through all the grades here.

History of the librarian: I got a master of library sciences in the 1970s. I worked at the public library in Fort Worth. When I moved here, I got my teaching certificate at Eastern New Mexico University and taught for six years. Being a librarian at a school is the best of both worlds. You teach and you’re a librarian. The mission of a school library is different than that of a public library. We try to empower the students to find their own material. We teach them how to research.

The monster in the stacks: I understand that people are afraid of libraries. They don’t all look the same. And we’re in a transition now. We have ebooks and research materials on-line. The Internet is the future of libraries. I don’t think books will totally go away. People will always want a fiction book in their hand. But research will move to the Internet. Change is a good thing though. Change is the one thing that will always happen.


— Compiled by CNJ Staff Writer Liliana Castillo