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Library and Santa bring holiday to kids

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Roswell Public Library employee Rebecca Cleyell plays Santa’s helper Saturday afternoon as children select free books, courtesy of the Roswell Public Library Foundation. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Merriment and education combined Saturday afternoon when the Roswell Public Library held its Yuletide Festival.

For many years, the library has had a Christmas event, but this year saw a full-fledged “festival” meant to cultivate readers and grow imaginations.

“The American Library Association has said that, to get students ready for school, we need to get them singing, talking, reading and playing,” said Library Director Enid Costley. “So we have music for singing and talking, a book give-away for reading and cookie decorating for playing.”

The event was funded by the New Mexico Humanities Council as well as the library and its two support organizations, the Friends of the Library and the Roswell Public Library Foundation. Eli’s Bistro also contributed to the event.

Children’s musician and songwriter Andy Mason of Santa Fe started the festivities by leading a sing-along, which also included some musical history lessons. His visit was funded in part by the Humanities Council.

Later children and their families could visit the three stations, a gingerbread cookie decorating venue, a Santa photo location and a book “shop,” where each child could select one free book to take home.

Visitors were asked to indicate whether the event earned “coals” or “treats,” and if enough vote “treats,” the event is likely to become the annual festival that Costley has envisioned.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.