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Research Sources on New Mexico's Libraries: Home

Helpful guide to locating sources on New Mexico's libraries


Use this guide to find resources on the history of many of New Mexico's libraries, including public, academic, and special libraries as well as related groups.

Primary and secondary sources on New Mexico’s libraries are abundant, provided you know where to look! This guide is a good “jumping off” point, meant to help researchers whittle down potential locations and collections that they may find useful, depending on their topic of interest.

If you know of any sources that should be listed but aren't, please get in touch with Sarah Obenauf at

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

Bellmore, Audra. "The University of New Mexico's Zimmerman Library: A New Deal Landmark Articulates the Ideals of the PWA." New Mexico Historical Review 88, 2 (2013).

Bier, Lisa. “Atomic Wives and the Secret Library at Los Alamos.” American Libraries 30, no. 11 (1999): 54–56.

  • Amid wartime secrecy, a small library played a key role in the development of the atomic bomb. 
  • “In his memoirs, Robert Serber stated that [Robert] Oppenheimer selected [his wife] Charlotte [Serber] specifically because she was not a professional librarian, and would therefore have few qualms about cutting ‘the necessary corners.’”

Bier, Lisa, and Donald G. Davis. “The Cover.” Libraries & Culture 33, no. 4 (1998): 446–50.

  • Traces the history of the Taos Public Library in Taos, New Mexico. Establishment of the Harwood Foundation in 1923; Bequeathal of the foundation to the University of New Mexico in 1936; University's remodeling of the library and its surrounding property; Details of the library's collection.

Burke, Susan K., and Eva Martin. 2004. “Libraries in Communities: Expected and Unexpected Portrayals in State Case Law.” Libraries & Culture 39 (4): 405–28. 

  • New Mexico makes the cut in this article because in 1914 the state sued to remove the state librarian because she was a woman. New Mexico became a state in 1912 and the issue whether or not a woman could legally hold the office of state librarian came up. The New Mexico Supreme Court eventually ruled in her favor.
  • New Mexico v. Chaves de Armijo – link to opinion:

Burke, Susan K. “The Use of Public Libraries by Native Americans.” The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy 77, no. 4 (2007): 429–61.

  • ABSTRACT: Library services to Native Americans have expanded greatly in the past several decades, but more work still needs to be done to provide for the information needs of Native Americans. Data from the U.S. Current Population Survey were used to compare library use rates of Native American households to rates of Anglo households. Results show that Native Americans still lag behind Anglos in public library use rates. Of households that report library use, Native Americans are more likely to engage in certain types of library use than are Anglos. Socioeconomic and geographic variables are indicated as factors in the lower library use rates of Native American households. Study results could be useful for groups working to improve Native American library and information services.

Burnett, Philip M. “The Development of State Libraries and Library Extension Service in Arizona and New Mexico.” The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy 35, no. 1 (1965): 31–51.

Hanson, Mary Ellen and Carl A. Hanson. "Wilma Loy Shelton: Library Leader in New Mexico, 1920–1950." New Mexico Historical Review 64, 1 (1989).

Harris, Linda G. One Book at a Time: the History of the Library in New Mexico. Albuquerque: New  Mexico Library Foundation, 1998.

Hildenbrand, Suzanne. 1996. Reclaiming the American Library Past : Writing the Women In. Information Management, Policy, and Services. Ablex Pub.

  • Chapter on Julia Brown Asplund. Available at UNM’s Zimmerman Library. 

Lewis, Linda K. and Frances C. Wilkinson. "Fire at the University of New Mexico Zimmerman Library." (2006).

  • The University of New Mexico Zimmerman Library had a major fire on April 30, 2006. The article describes the disaster response and recovery. It includes lessons applicable to other libraries.

Lindell, Lisa R. "Camp Cody Library: Books for World War I Soldiers." New Mexico Historical Review 76, 3 (2001).

  • Located near Deming, New Mexico, Camp Cody was one of thirty-two military training camps nationwide in 1917. This article focuses on the librarians and the opportunities and challenges they faced.

Massmann, Ann. 2008. “Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico: An Interdisciplinary Archive.” Journal of the West 47 (1): 46.

  • Overview of The Center for Southwest Research (CSWR) at the University of New Mexico (UNM).

Pack, T., and J. Pemberton. 1999. “A Harbinger of Change: The Cutting-Edge Library at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.” 

  • Provides information on the Research Library at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. History of the Los Alamos National Laboratory; Enhancement on the library's initiatives; Digital collection management reached by the library. PDF is available at LANL’s website:

Riley, Carroll L. 2011. “Life and Learning in Seventeenth-Century New Mexico.” El Palacio 116 (3): 48–54.

Rock, Rosalind Z. “A History of Libraries in New Mexico: Spanish Origins to Statehood.” The Journal of Library History (1974-1987) 14, no. 3 (1979): 253–73.

  • A general overview of the history of libraries in New Mexico, with some detail on the progress of accumulation and development of the Archives of New Mexico, the Territorial Library, and the beginning of public libraries.

Ruoss, G. M. 1972. "The Archives in the Special Collection of the Zimmerman Library." Great Plains Journal 11 (2) (Spring): 116. .

  • Snapshot of Zimmerman Library’s archives in the early 1970s.

Simmons, Marc. 1996. “A New Mexico Library Is Reborn - Again.” El Palacio 101 (3): 44–47.