IF YOU GO

What: Winter Solstice celebration

When: 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21

Where: Farmington Public Library, 2101 Farmington Ave., Farmington

More info: Go to www.infoway.org

FARMINGTON — On the floor of the Farmington Public Library, there are two markers. One, right next to the entrance, marks a little square lit up during the summer solstice. The other, which is larger, marks the arch formed by sunlight each year during winter solstice.

On Saturday, community members will gather at the library to watch this arch light up.

The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year. Following the solstice, the days begin to get longer until the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year.

Karen McPheeters, library director, said the sun, which is lower in the sky during the winter, shines through six windows to form the arch on the floor.

"It's fun that we are able to do this," she said.

The solstice events start at 10 a.m. and include the Ashay Drummers from Aztec, local folk duo Willow Blue and a special guest appearance by the Grinch and Na'atlo'o' String Stories.

At noon, the arch will form, and the Farmington Public Library Foundation will present its annual Let There Be Light Award. The award began in 2009, when the foundation presented Hugh Rogers with the award. The award is a way for the foundation to recognize its supporters.

This year, the award recipient is Bert Levine, a former project engineer for Navajo Agricultural Products Industry irrigation. Levine helped build Navajo Dam, as well as an extensive ditch system. McPheeters said he has been a long-time contributor to the community.

"He did things because he cares about the community," she said.

One part of the community Levine has been influential in is the library, and his support helped the library move from a corner building with no parking in downtown Farmington to its current location on 20th Street.

Now, at age 96, Levine continues to be a supporter of the library and is a regular patron.

The move to the new library is what enabled the annual solstice celebrations.

The Ashay Drummers perform during the 2010 Winter Solstice celebration at the Farmington Public Library.
The Ashay Drummers perform during the 2010 Winter Solstice celebration at the Farmington Public Library. (Daily Times file photo)

When building the new library, the history of the area was at the forefront of the design. Many people have moved to New Mexico because of the sun, and the ancient Puebloans built their structures with the sun in mind. A lot of these structures have sun markers to mark the solstice. When the library was built, sun markers were included.

"To me, it's part of our cultural history," McPheeters said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.