Libraries are places where imagination takes flight, information is found and learning ensues. The bonus? Access is free. From vast community libraries, to fascinating specialty libraries, to museum libraries teeming with history, here are our 10 favorites in New Mexico.
What began as the dream of seven devoted ladies in 1978 has grown into a 3,000-square-foot library thanks to a generous community committed to creating this space. The shelves are full of more than 10,000 print and audio books. There are four public computers, gently used books and CDs for sale and a Kindle Device lending program. Librarians host a kids’ game night as well as a summer reading program.
The town’s public library is housed in the Belen Harvey House which operated in the 1930s as a first-class dining and lunchroom for rail passengers and has been completely refurbished. Fred Harvey is credited with creating the first restaurant chain in America, building dining houses across the country for the railroad. The library specializes in Southwest and Belen history. There are 45 public computers, thousands of books, DVDs, audiobooks and eBooks. Programs for children, teens and adults keep people coming back.
Army libraries offer a wide-range of services. This one has a 40,000-volume collection of fiction, non-fiction, books on tape and CD, study guides, videos, DVDs, magazines and newspapers for both adults and children. There are computer stations with internet, an online database for research, events, classes, story times and a summer reading program. Open to all active duty, retired military and civilian employees and National Guard and Reservists stationed at White Sands.
This research library has a specific goal: to provide essential knowledge services for national security services. It has an extensive collection of books, journals, databases and technical reports in print and electronically. There’s an Electronic Public Reading Room that has a diverse selection of documents having to do with environmental regulations and permits. Open Monday through Friday.
Established in 1929, the state library plays a role in the state’s various public, school, tribal, academic and special libraries by providing consulting services, technical and informational support, training and professional development. It also distributes information published by the state government through the State Publications Collection. It oversees programs like the state-wide Rural Services program that brings bookmobiles to towns without a public library and books by mail for the homebound. New Mexican residents can also access, Magazines Online, a state-wide database.
This free-to-the-public library is home to an 8,000-volume inventory that includes books, catalogues, periodicals and audio-visual materials all related to world art history, anthropology, art and history of the Southwest, applied art, photography, museum studies and rocket history-technology. There are also source materials on the state’s Federal Arts Project and archives with information on artist Howard Cook and physicist Robert Hutchings Goddard.
Open to the public by appointment, this library is a treasure trove of information for those researching New Mexican agriculture, anthropology and archaeology, arts and crafts, farming, history, material culture, museology, ranching and rural life. The 6,000 cataloged items relate to the Museum’s interpretive subject areas. The Rare Books Collection includes the largest Brand Book collection in the state, with publications from the Cattle, Sheep and Livestock Board and some from the cattle growers association from the late 1800s.
The City first opened a library in 1901 on Central Avenue. The current pueblo revival style building, once the main library, now houses the Special Collections Library and is recognized as an Albuquerque landmark. The main library, now located downtown, was built in the 1970s to accommodate the library system’s burgeoning needs. Today, it is a hub of services that includes more than a million items from the latest best sellers to children’s books to how-to manuals and more. Music CDs and DVDs, audiobooks, and an international collection of books in dozens of different languages, plus classes, events and programs makes this a place to come and hang out for a while.
What began as the School of Mines, with seven students in the late 1800s, has grown into a much more diverse school with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics with a library of more than 600,000 books, periodicals, government publications, maps and videos that support these subjects. It serves the research needs of the students and faculty, as well as the public interested in the school’s specific academic subjects. Study rooms, a cafe and coffee bar help researchers get through the wee hours of morning study.
This public library is part of the Palace of the Governors, the state’s history museum. Originally constructed in the 17th century, it was designated a Registered National Historic Landmark in 1960 and an American Treasure in 1999. The library is a “non-circulating, closed-stack research facility” that contains historical materials documenting the history of the state, Southwest and meso-America prior to European contact to present day. Access is by appointment only.