February 17, 2018

Teresa Naranjo | Movers & Shakers 2003

Renewing a Legacy


When Teresa Naranjo moved back to Santa Clara Pueblo after graduating from college, she was thrilled to hear that a position was opening up at the community library where she had worked summers in high school. While she moved toward certification, her title was “librarian,” though she functioned as director of the two-person facility. Just over a decade later, she rightly has the title of “director,” while heading up a staff of six.

The growth of the institution is all the more astounding considering the lack of a single main funding source. The Tewa-speaking tribe of the Santa Clara Pueblo has many demands for its limited funds. Though Naranjo happily talks about “new areas of economic development that will hopefully stabilize,” she says, “we cannot afford to pay the full costs and so we went in search of grants.”

“Every year she has to piece her funding together,” explains Alison Freese, the tribal libraries consultant at the New Mexico State Library. “All the tribal librarians have to spend so much time fundraising and writing grants; they always have to be thinking about where the next year’s funding will come from.” Freese has endless praise for Naranjo, not only in regard to finding money for her own institution but also for her lobbying on behalf of all the libraries. “Just this week the state librarian and I and Teresa went together to visit a state senator and talk about the need for ongoing support,” Freese says. “Teresa is so eloquent and made a point of speaking about how things have improved.” Naranjo likewise shares her experiences through work with the New Mexico Library Association’s Native American Libraries Interest Group.

Naranjo’s unwaveringly optimistic view of sometimes difficult circumstances is matched by her insistence on sharing the credit. Naming funding sources, she praises the tribal government, county government, and state library for their ongoing support. Significant additional relief comes from the Institute of Museum and Library Service for enhancement grants to build the collections, Workforce Investment Act money for salaries, Job Training Partnership Act grants for provision of summer youth workers, and a Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) program with the goal of preserving Native American languages that funds Tewa-language instructors. Naranjo is working to renew the DHHS single-year grant for another three years.

In addition to the language classes, the library has become a hub for Internet access and a wide variety of computer and technology training. The library is also starting to digitize historic documents and is undertaking an archiving project for the tribe. “We are collecting data and building a community profile, an economic profile,” says Naranjo. “These will serve to educate the community and be a resource for students and people in tribal government.”

Naranjo insists all this good work isn’t about her. “The staff – Wanda Dozier, Alisha Martinez, Bernard Chavarria, Dorothy Jenkins, and John Shije – are what make the library a successful program,” she asserts.




Current Position: Library Director, Santa Clara Pueblo Community Library, NM

Degrees: BA, English Literature, College of Santa Fe, 1990; Grade 2 Library Certification, New Mexico State Library, 1995