History and Mission
The New Mexico State Library is committed to providing leadership that promotes effective library services and access to information to all citizens of New Mexico. The State Library provides services that support public libraries as well as delivers direct library services to rural populations, state agencies, the visually impaired and physically disabled, and students and citizens conducting research.
Traditionally, the State Library recognized its establishment when it began delivering statewide services in 1929. However, a dive into historical legislation by a Cultural Affairs legal intern led to the discovery that the State Library has been around even longer.
In 1915, an act was passed “to regulate the management of the State Library.” The law reveals that a Board of Trustees was established, led by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Senate Bill Number 156, Section 6 reads, “The State Library shall be under the care and custody of a librarian who shall be appointed by said Board of Trustees, and who shall hold office at the pleasure of the Board of Trustees.”
Then, in 1929, House Bill Number 210 was approved, and the State Library Extension Service for New Mexico was created. Headquartered at the Museum of New Mexico at Santa Fe, this extension service is how the State Library as we know it today evolved. Section 3 reads, “The purpose of this Service shall be to give advice and counsel to all public libraries, and to all communities wishing to establish free libraries, as to the best means of establishing and administering such libraries.”
Since that law was enacted in 1929, the State Library has had a unique leadership role among the state's various libraries: public, school, tribal, academic, and special. Using state and federal financial aid, library consulting services, technical and informational support, training, and professional development, the State Library encourages local library service. It also extends direct service to those portions of the state’s population that require special assistance, such as library service to those without access to public libraries and the visually and physically impaired. The State Library holds state and federal documents with information about government and government programs, Southwest resources, and collections of materials of special interest to other libraries, state agencies, and the general public.