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Southwest Natural History Resources: Digital Resources

New Mexico Reads - e-books and e-audio books

The New Mexico State Library is pleased to offer a new resource for New Mexicans -- New Mexico Reads. This eBook collection primarily includes Southwest history and culture titles and fiction by New Mexico authors or set in the Southwest. New Mexico Reads also includes some books on racism in America, library and information science, national topics such as the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, and a selection of audiobooks. There is a small collection of books for children and tweens and teens. To find out more, visit this guide. If you have any problems, contact us at

Here is a selection of natural history books available through New Mexico Reads.


Wildflowers of the Northern and Central Mountain of New Mexico This unique reference work describes over 350 wildflowers and flowering shrubs that grow in New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo, Jemez, Sandia, and Manzano Mountains, as well as neighboring ranges, including the Manzanita, San Pedro, Ortiz, and other lower-elevation mountains in central portions of the state.




Reopening the American West Take a good look at the American West and you'll see that the frontier is undergoing constant changes—not only changes made to the land but also changes in attitudes about the land held by the people who live there.In this book Mike Davis, Stephen Pyne, William deBuys, Donald Worster, Dan Flores, and others re-examine the relationship between people and the environment in the American West over five hundred years, from the legacy of Coronado's search for the Cities of Gold to the social costs of tourism and gaming inflicted by modern adventurers. By exploring places in the West, aspects of the region's past, and ways of understanding some of its pressing issues, the authors foster a better understanding of how people interact and perceive land.Reopening the American West takes a fresh approach to the history of the region, examining the premises of earlier scholars as well as those who have redefined the study of the West over the past two decades. It combines provocative essays with insightful analyses to address issues that are representative of the West in the twentieth century—multiculturalism, water issues, resource exploitation—and to reopen the West for all readers interested in new ways of looking at its wide-open spaces.

Rockhounding New Mexico More than a third of New Mexico is public land that holds untold quantities of mineralogical treasure. With this book anyone can learn where to find unusual mineral displays, fossils, jasper, agate, petrified wood—not to mention more obsidian than one rockhound could possibly collect in a lifetime. The array and quality of such materials just waiting to be found in New Mexico are almost mind-boggling. Rockhounding New Mexico describes 140 of the state's best rockhound sites, covering popular and commercial sites as well as numerous little-known areas. This handy guide describes where and how to collect specimens, includes maps of each site as well as directions, anprovides reliable recommendations for accommodations, camping, and other special attractions. It is, in short, a complete and outstanding introduction to the many sides of a fascinating hobby.


Originating high in New Mexico's mysterious Black Range and flowing to the Rio Grande amid contorted, ghost-like sycamores, Las Animas Creek remains one of the least accessible landscapes in the nation. The watershed is best known as the site of Apache chief Victorio's last major battle with the U.S. Cavalry before his retreat and ultimate defeat by the Mexican army. Despite its geographic isolation, the watershed remains closely linked with the history of nearby Kingston, Hillsboro and Caballo. Once home to New Mexico's last grizzly, Las Animas sustains a diverse range of native plants and wild animals, including bison, prairie dogs and mountain lions, as well as a host of endangered species. Aldo Leopold Wilderness and Ted Turner's Ladder Ranch ensure it remains Rio de las Animas, the "River of Spirits." Wildlife research biologist Harley G. Shaw compiles a human and natural history of this remote ecosystem.


In their second guide to birding in New Mexico, Judy Liddell and Barbara Hussey share their experiences and intimate knowledge of the best places to find birds in and around Santa Fe and other areas in northern New Mexico. Following the same format as their book on the Albuquerque area, the authors describe 32 sites organized by geographic regions. Along with a general description of each area, the authors list target birds; explain where and when to look for them; give driving directions; provide information about public transportation, parking, fees, restrooms, food, and lodging; and give tips on availability of water and picnic facilities and on the presence of hazards such as poison ivy, rattlesnakes, and bears. Maps and photographs provide trail diagrams and images of some of the target birds and their environments.

State Publications Digital Collections

The New Mexico State Documents collection contains documents with SW natural history content from various agencies including:

  • New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
  • New Mexico State University Coop Extension Service
  • Environment Department

These publications can be found in the New Mexico Digital Collection

Possible search terms for this subject area:  "natural history", specific names of animals and plants (ie. dragonflies, wolves), and general terms like wildlife, botany, insects, rivers, etc.



Additionally, you can find digital versions of reports, proclamations, action plans, from various state agencies working on issues impacting New Mexico and the Southwest's natural systems.

Federal Resources

The New Mexico State Library has served as a Federal Depository Library for the State of New Mexico since 1960 and is one of three libraries sharing the New Mexico Regional Depository duties; the New Mexico State Library, the University of New Mexico, and the New Mexico State University. Federal titles published after 1976 are included in the State Library's online catalog as well as on the Library of Congress site Congress.Gov and via FedSys. The State Library catalog lists titles that are available electronically as well as those in our paper collection. In addition to publications published after 1960, the State Library has several historical sets from the 18th, 19th and early 20th century. Only a few of these historical documents are included in the State Library's online catalog. The New Mexico State Library reference staff can help you determine the library’s holdings of these pre-1976 works. Contact us at Ask a Librarian .

Federal Government Agencies to look for include:

  • BLM
  • US Fish and Wildlife
  • US Forest Service
  • National Park Service
  • Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

and so many more!






Report upon the extinct Vertebrata obtained in New Mexico by parties

of the expedition of 1874.Washington, D.C.,1877. Public domain.