Education column: Book fairs expand horizons

It was Scholastic Book Fair week again for many of our elementary schools. Peeking in the library at Cameo Elementary, Pat Archibeque, school librarian, was bustling about, organizing materials and arranging things for classes coming to the library that day. Large, silver cases on wheels, filled with books, were “parked” in the corner of the library in readiness for the book fair all week.

“Our elementary schools have a book fair in the fall and one in the spring,” Archibeque explained. “Cameo’s fall book fair theme is ‘Reading is out of this world,’ and our selection of books includes science and astronomy titles.”

Now in her 40th year as an educator, Pat Archibeque was raised in an Air Force family. Almost graduating from Clovis High School, her father was transferred to Arizona her senior year, where she finished school. With accumulated credits, Archibeque needed only one class to complete high school and, after negotiations, was able to simultaneously enroll in a local junior college during her senior year, something quite unusual at the time. Upon completion, Archibeque transferred to Eastern New Mexico University, where she earned a bachelor and master’s degrees.

Archibeque spent the first four years of her teaching career in Vaughn as an English teacher and counselor. She returned to Clovis and spent the next 27 years teaching English and communications at Marshall Junior High. After a short retirement, Archibeque returned to the Clovis schools as librarian at Cameo and has been there for the last nine years.

“I’m still enjoying my job; I love what I do! Reading not only prepares students for all school subjects, but also for the world at large. You’re never too old to learn to read, and, like many things, the more you read the better you become at it,” she said.

In the world of librarians, it’s always important to refresh the library collection, and book fair sales help to do just that. During the process of pulling outdated books Archibeque has come across titles from the 1960s and a science book from the 1940s describing how “one day we may even travel into space.”

After the spring book fair, Archibeque pulls old books off the shelf and holds a used book sale at the end of April, where books are sold for a quarter each. The kids, especially the little ones, are excited and thrilled to go home with a stack of books. “It recycles books and puts books into the hands of kids,” Archibeque observed.

While we chatted, a kindergarten class came in and plopped down in the reading corner. Archibeque effortlessly transitioned from finishing her remarks to greeting the kids and beginning the reading of an interactive story with students as they immediately settled down and listened.

Author Christopher Morley noted, “When you sell a man a book, you don’t sell him just 12 ounces of paper and ink and glue — you sell him a whole new life.”

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at: