2021 News Archives

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A Letter from Julia Clarke, President APLF (Posted: 12/03/2021)

Julia Clarke

Your support of the Public Library, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County is an investment in our community. This past year, donor support helped relaunch pandemic-delayed programming and furnish the Children’s Room in the International District Library, which will open in early 2022.

Supporters of the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation (APLF) empower library staff to dream big and improve and expand services.

Young girl

In this season of gratitude, we are grateful for the talented and dedicated library staff members who share their knowledge and inspire imagination and curiosity each day. We also are grateful for the tireless support of the volunteers who serve our libraries in three ways: advocacy, book sales and fundraising.

The success of our public library can be conveyed with statistics, but many of you have told us that learning about the thrill of a child receiving a first library card or the smile on the face of a young mother who has found a place for her family at storytime speaks volumes.

It takes all of us. Building a stronger Public Library, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County builds a stronger community. We can’t do it without you - Thank you for your support!

Community Giving. Community Strong.

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A Letter from Julia Clarke, President APLF (Posted: 11/11/2021)

Julia Clarke

November is the beginning of many things — family celebrations that continue into the new year, colder weather, shopping, gatherings with family, dear friends and colleagues, and requests from non-profit organizations for financial support.

The Albuquerque Public Library Foundation (APLF) is among those asking for your support. Launched in October, 2013 our enthusiastic (see photo above) all-volunteer organization works tirelessly to raise money to enrich our public libraries by purchasing things not covered by tax dollars. Tax dollars, including General Obligation Bonds, cover operating expenses and library materials, but not the supplemental programming.

These include: Early Literacy Centers, Literacy Kits, Lego Clubs, Code Clubs, STEM/STEAM programs, the Teen Book Trailer Contests, the Career Online High School, “Ukuleles in the Library” and the newly published Library Event Guide are just a sample of the impact made by individual donations, corporate support and grants to the Foundation.

  • After the 2014 fire at the North Valley Library, our generous donors furnished a Teen area, refurbished the Adult Reading area and added an Early Literacy Center to the Children’s Room.
  • In 2015 APLF purchased furnishings for the Children’s Area and the Children’s Craft Room at the new Central and Unser Library.
  • Opening Spring 2022, the Children’s Room of the International District Library is being furnished with APLF donor support.

In short, your donated funds are used to provide social, educational and community building resources that contribute to the strengthening of our community.

Another way to support the library system and the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation is to spread the word! You make a difference by telling friends and family members about your positive library experiences and why YOU love the library. Thank you for your continuing interest in and support of The Public Library, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.

Community Giving. Community Strong.

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Why I Give - Kathleen Raskob, APLF Board Member (Posted: 11/11/2021)

Kathleen Raskob

Thanks for the opportunity to share “why I give to the library.” For me, it’s pretty simple. I give because I love books, and I love the very premise of a library – a community space where anyone can go – and no one is excluded. I’ve always loved books, and I credit my parents with that. I loved reading as a child, and books have continued to be an important part of my adult life.

I especially loved my elementary school library when I was assigned to be the library helper – sitting at the front desk -checking books out, stamping library cards, sorting and shelving books. I loved it! When my daughters were young, it was an adventure to head to downtown Albuquerque to our main library branch, down the stairs to the children’s room to discover books and just hang out. And now there is the joy of introducing books to my four grandkids!

Another highlight in my lifelong love of libraries was visiting the Library of Congress in Washington DC – that was on my first trip there – I didn’t make it to DC until I was an adult – it was a must-see for me. And finally, learning about our fellow board member, Samantha Gallegos’, love of Suzzallo library on the University of Washington campus – I went to college there as well and had that same love, well maybe, awe is a better word. It is a wondrous space. Shockingly, we weren’t there at the same time but what a great connection!

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Photos of the New International District Library - Opening Spring 2022! (Posted: 11/11/2021)

There is so much potential In the stack of books Yet to be read.
It is the unlimited unknown. Infinite possibility.
The unread unknown Never grows smaller.
Each book opened Fills the mind a little more With knowledge yes,
But with potential, even more.

- Martha E. Meacham

Internationl District Library Internationl District Library Internationl District Library Internationl District Library Internationl District Library Internationl District Library
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Welcome to our New Board Members (Posted: 11/11/2021)

Annna Zollinger

Anna Zollinger

It is our pleasure to introduce Anna Zollinger as a new member of the Albuquerque Public Library Board of Directors. Anna and her family are avid public library users.

Anna comes to us with extensive professional experience in building community through arts and inclusion. This combined with her knowledge of organizations supporting individuals with developmental disabilities, her involvement with local theater and service organizations along with her creative skills make her a perfect fit as we expand our board.

Welcome, Anna! We look forward to your contributions.

Russ Davidson

Russ Davidson

Volunteering to serve on the APLF Board seemed like a natural move for Russ. In addition to believing in libraries as a vital component of American life and society, Russ has relied on libraries, personally and professionally, for more than fifty years.

Russ’ first library work experience dates to his teenage years, when he had a summer job helping on the circulation desk at a San Francisco branch library. His later experiences included conducting research in Colombian, Mexican, and Ecuadorian archives and libraries, working—while a student in library school—in the EPA library in North Carolina, and serving for a brief time as Collection Development Officer in the University of Tennessee-Knoxville Library.

In 2004, after completing twenty-five years as the Latin American/Iberian Curator in Zimmerman Library, Russ retired from UNM. He continues serving as a translator for university presses. Besides reading, engaging in volunteer service, following his favorite sports teams, and spending time with family, Russ loves traveling—with Tasmania as his number one hiking destination.

Welcome, Russ! Don’t forget to send photos of your travels!

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A Letter from Julia Clarke, President APLF (Posted: 10/11/2021)

Julia Clarke

Hello again! October is quite a busy month in our community. Our wonderful weather is at its best with cool mornings and warm afternoons, and this month, we again are enjoying balloons along with welcoming family and friends to all celebrations of fall.

Our wonderful newsletter editor, Amy, is sharing information on the newest public art project to come to life in our city—the ARTE ESCONDIDO Banner Project. One of those banners came to life through the meeting of the artist with the fine staff at the Central and Unser Library.

Did you know that thirteen (13) of our libraries throughout Albuquerque and Bernalillo County have public art installations? Perhaps this fall will be the perfect time of year for you to tour the libraries and select your favorites. Mine include:

  1. Reverse Target Red by Nancy Kozikowski at the Central and Unser Library
  2. Melissa Zink’s Book Warden at Special Collections,
  3. The magnificent mural Once Upon a Storytime on the exterior of the Juan Tabo Library
  4. Diana Stetson’s unique Historical Timeline of Books in the Center for the Book at the Special Collections Library.

I hope you will enjoy exploring the public art available at the libraries!

Support Libraries

This year there is an election on November 2nd. A General Obligation Bond question impacting all public library users will be on the ballot. The City is seeking approval for a $4,157,000 bond that will cover library materials (books, digital media, and electronic resources) as well as $500,000 for repairs and renovations to the City’s 15 (soon to be 16!) libraries. Funding for needed improvements and repairs is designated for libraries in Council Districts 1, 3, 7 & 8. Please consider voting YES on this important ballot initiative.

Your support of our library system by voting for bond issues and by making contributions of any size to APLF is important to all who use our libraries every day.

Community Giving. Community Strong.

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Arte Escondido: West Central Route 66 Street Light Banner Project (Posted: 10/11/2021)

“Art is important to us because it carries on our traditions, our culture and it doesn’t let us forget where we come from.”
BERNCO Commissioner - Steven Michael Quezada

Arte Escondido

An exciting annual public arts project in Albuquerque is Arte Escondido: West Central Route 66 Street Light Banner Project which highlights the cultural and historic traditions of the Southwest area of Albuquerque. For those Albuquerque residents west of the river especially, West Central was the only way to cross back and forth across the Rio Grande. It was a place for young and old to cruise, to meet new and old friends at popular drive-ins along the route, shop, socialize, and to show off vintage cars and low-riders. Named the Mother Road, Route 66 is far more than just a sign on the side of the road; it’s a passage into our culture, traditions, and history.

One of the Central and Unser Library patrons, Franchesco was selected to participate in the project in 2020. Here’s his thank you to the staff:

  • Upon moving to the Albuquerque area, I saw glimpses of art for the public to enjoy here and there. As an artist, I wanted to contribute directly to my community, but I just didn’t know how. I found myself at the world class Central and Unser Public Library. It is not only a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility, but felt like a place where knowledge lives. And I’m not just referring to what is found in books.
  • I reached out to the friendly library staff, who were more than helpful in so many ways in pointing me in the right direction. That led directly to my artwork being selected to grace the “Mother Road” recently - the one and only iconic Route 66. A fun piece that can now be seen by anyone who travels up and down our historic stretch of “America’s Highway” - the ARTE ESCONDIDO Banner Project.
  • It is my hope to continue to create artwork for all to enjoy in our beautiful city, that will hopefully create favorable ripples in all facets of Burquenos’ lives. And it all may never have happened, if not for the AMAZING staff at the Central & Unser Public Library.

Best regards,

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APLF’s Newest Community Supporter (Posted: 10/11/2021)

All Seasons Roofing

APLF is pleased to welcome ALL SEASONS ROOFING as our newest COMMUNITY SUPPORTER. This donation from ALL SEASONS ROOFING proudly supports the STEM / STEAM programming offered throughout our library system.

We sincerely thank ALL SEASONS for helping to strengthen these well-regarded programs. STEM/STEAM programs combine traditional instruction with on-line and hands-on learning activities, allowing students the opportunity to experience different ways of learning and problem solving.

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The new EVENTS GUIDE is here! Have you gotten yours yet? (Posted: 10/11/2021)

Events Guide

Editor’s Note: I can’t tell you how excited I am about the new EVENTS GUIDE for the Public Library, Albuquerque & Bernalillo County. Production costs for the printed version are funded through the Foundation. The initial print run is 10,000 copies and the Guide is being distributed system wide. Although this printing of the GUIDE ages out in mid-December, we are excited to share that the next edition will run January through May 2022.

Our library staff are quite a talented and committed group of professionals. From data collection to the artful design and layout of that data, for the first time we can share with you the tremendous FREE programming available to all across the library system, not to mention the talented library staff and patrons who make our programming possible. Please, take a look!

When my son was younger, I jumped at the chance to take him somewhere on Saturday or Sunday afternoons or after school or in the evening where I knew he would be happy and safe, and we could enjoy our time together. A place where we got out of the apartment and got some space.

So, go get your first edition copy of the EVENTS GUIDE now available at all our libraries, or take a look online and bookmark the page. Here’s to new discoveries!

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LOVE NOTES Come to the Library in Many Ways (Posted: 10/11/2021)

Love Notes 1

Meet Lisa and sweet little Pippen who happily joined the young readers at the Ernie Pyle Branch Library recently.

It was the first in-person Read to the Dogs Program at Ernie Pyle since February 2020, and it was wonderful to be together again.

Thanks for sharing!

Love Notes 2

This note was sent to the South Valley Library:

We moved to the Valley in late 2020, during the pandemic, when there was practically nowhere to go and very little to do away from home.

The library and these books became something of a lifeline to me during a difficult time. I appreciate your kindness and ready smiles each time I came in. Thank you! K.T.

Do you have any love notes to share?
We’d love to hear from you!
Please send to: [email protected]

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Why I Support the Public Library - Diane Fleming, APLF Board (Posted: 10/11/2021)

Children in the 1950s

In the early 1950s, the world was full of young children entering school for the first time. Classes were bursting at the seams with 40-45 students in each classroom. Children of varying abilities were lumped together and expected to behave and learn. Teachers were overwhelmed by large class sizes and unable to give individual attention to any student needing extra help. A struggling student had to fend for herself or be left behind bewildered and confused. It was up to the student and her parents to find productive ways to improve a child’s scholarship.

The key to success was wrapped in the ability to be an excellent reader. Our resilient and wise parents turned to the library as a source of help and guidance.

Party lines phones

As children we grew up with party line telephones and very few TV stations to watch during the day. A big weekend consisted of playing outside with friends or being inside reading a new book. The trip to the public library became a weekly ritual to anticipate and enjoy.

Walking to the neighborhood library was a great adventure into a different world full of mystery, wonder, and knowledge. We wandered freely throughout the large buildings filled with books from the floor to the ceiling. We loved the independence of roaming the stacks and discovering a new jewel to read. If truth be told, we also enjoyed the cool air conditioning which saved us from the oppressive humidity and heat of a summer afternoon in Memphis.

We hung out with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys driving the backroads of New Jersey, solving mysteries along the way. We learned about national heroes and citizenship by reading individual biographies of historical leaders who created our democracy.

As we turned through the pages of National Geographic and Life Magazine, we discovered the world was much more exotic, larger, and complicated than our own hometowns.

Children in the 1950s

Those afternoons of roaming the library and catching glimpses of a larger world inspired my generation to become doctors, lawyers, ministers, teachers, scientists, astronauts, and world travelers. The resources of the library and the kind librarians set the stage to fill our minds with bold dreams and inspiration. We could become anything we could imagine. We just needed to check out another library book to expand our minds and dreams.

Today I am often asked why I support the library with my financial resources and my time. I just have to look back on my life and realize that my hours spent at the library were so important in shaping the course of my own life. I learned new information, developed research techniques, gained many literary role models, and discovered that each book presented me with a new lens to view the world around me.

Diane Fleming

I am so thankful for the opportunities that were given to me and hope to make the library available and accessible to every person seeking knowledge and answers to questions. Our democracy depends upon a well-educated populace that is able to read information and analyze content for accuracy before making decisions.

I love the memories and the gifts that the library has given me over the years. I want to pass those opportunities on to the next generation.

Please join me in supporting our public library system with your talents and your resources.

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A Letter from Julia Clarke, President APLF (Posted: 09/10/2021)

Julia Clarke

September is here! Schools are in session and our libraries are introducing in-person programming and other enhancements to our library system.

The first enhancement is the publication of our very first system-wide Library Event Guide made possible by your Library Giving Day donations to APLF. Created in-house by talented library staff, the FREE Guide will be available for you to pick up at all library locations and on-line.

At one glance, you will be able to see the FREE programs and special events available September - December 2021 across our library system. You are always welcome at all libraries for the programs and events that interest you. Come and explore what is available! As always, health and safety protocols will be followed. Thanks to the generous support of our donors, more enhancements for programs and information sharing system-wide are on the way. We will keep you informed.

As 2021 begins to wind down, many of us are reviewing the successes and challenges of 2020. An unanticipated and welcomed change is the increase of donations APLF has received in memory of a departed loved one and in celebration of a special friend or family member. As I look at the list, I smile when I read “In celebration of my favorite Bookworm’s 39th Birthday” and notice another in celebration of grandchildren.

For each donation in memory or celebration of, the Foundation sends a letter of thanks to the donor and shares the news with the person being honored or the family of a person being remembered.

Please consider the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation as your milestones occur. Your thoughtful gift ensures that our libraries offer the best services possible to all who enter our libraries!

Community Giving. Community Strong.

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MedlinePlus - Your Trusted Source of Health Information (Posted: 09/10/2021)


One of the many online services the Library offers with your library card is access to MedlinePlus. MedlinePlus gives you direct access to the latest public health information from the CDC, along with the latest research information from the National Institute for Health.

MedlinePlus is a service of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world’s largest medical library, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Their mission is to present high-quality, relevant health and wellness information that is trusted, easy to understand, and free of advertising in English and Spanish. Health information is also available in a wide variety of other languages. Anywhere, anytime, on any device—for free.

Additionally, COMBATCOVID.hhs.gov is the Covid-focused website from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). You will find additional information related to Covid vaccines.

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Why I Give - Julia Grimes, APLF Board Member (Posted: 09/10/2021)

Julia Grimes

Libraries and books have always been part of my life. My parents were book hounds, and when my brothers and I were young, they would read to us every day. When my mother moved into Assisted Living in Denver, my brothers and I carted 40 boxes of books to the Denver Public Library.

After college, I began my professional path when I began working at Widener Library at Harvard. After getting my Master’s in Library Science, I began working at the library of the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine.

From there, I worked at a research library on Kirtland Air Force Base. I left when my children were born but returned to the libraries at UNM Children’s Hospital, where I was able to build a library for parents whose children were in the hospital. We also built an early literacy program for children seen in clinics.

As my children grew, my husband and I would end each day curled up reading to our kids. Now that our children have children, they are following the same path—their homes are full of books, and every evening books are being read.

My husband said his happiest memories growing up were the Saturdays when his mother would drop him off at the public library with a sandwich and a dime in case he needed to make a phone call. He told me he would wander the stacks and find treasure after treasure.

Libraries are our safe place—they are a storehouse of treasures for everyone.
This is why I give.

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International District Library (IDL) Update (Posted: 09/10/2021)

ID Library

Pictures are worth ten thousand words! We are so pleased to let you know the construction of this newest addition to our library system remains on time and on budget. The opening is expected in late 2021. We can’t wait to see the inside!

ID Library
ID Library
ID Library
ID Library
ID Library
ID Library
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Love Notes to the Library (Posted: 09/10/2021)

Love Notes to the Library

A South Valley Library user recently shared that she used to bring her mother to the library, where they would sit and read. Her mother was blind and has since passed away. Her daughter said that she has many happy memories of the times they spent together at the library.

Do you have any love notes to share? We’d love to hear from you! Please send to: [email protected].

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National Library Card Month (Posted: 09/10/2021)

National Library Card Month

The Public Library ABQ-BernCo is conducting a social media photo contest in celebration of National Library Card Sign-Up Month, beginning at 8am MDT on Sept 1st, 2021, and ending at 5pm MDT on Sept 30th, 2021.

Contestants may enter the competition by posting a photo submission on either Facebook or Instagram (or both!). This contest is across both platforms and the winner will be selected based upon the photo submission with the overall most “likes,” regardless of which social media platform it is posted on.

To be eligible to enter and win, contestants must have an active library card in good standing with the Public Library ABQ-BernCo. Only one entry per contestant will be evaluated. To be eligible to win, contestant must be 18 years of age or older, or have parental/guardian consent. Employees of the Public Library ABQ-BernCo are ineligible to participate in the contest. Official contest rules and regulations are available here.

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A Letter from Julia Clarke, President APLF (Posted: 08/05/2021)

Julia Clarke

August is a time of new beginnings and fresh starts. It’s back to school for many students and their families as they embark on new academic adventures and social challenges in the year ahead.

Because it is never too late to go back to school, the Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Public Library has joined in partnership with the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation, the New Mexico State Library, and Sandia National Laboratories to offer qualified adults the chance to get their high school diploma online through Career Online High School. Through this program, students earn a regular HS diploma, not a GED, along with career specific training and documented competency.

In keeping with this spirit of new beginnings and opportunities, APLF is proud to announce the awarding of a new grant from Sandia National Laboratories to fund several additional scholarships to the Career On-Line High School. Presently, there are six students receiving full scholarships to attend this innovative program.

More information is available below in this month’s BOOKISH and on-line.

In an additional fresh start, all of us are looking forward to our libraries restoring full services in September. This includes computer access, library programs, and the ability to use the library for longer than 15 minutes at a time.

What a welcome return for all!

Thanks to the outpouring of generous support for the 2020 Library Giving Day campaign, library customers will soon see:

  • increased publicity about upcoming events and programs at all branches;
  • a strengthening of STEM programs (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math as interrelated academic disciplines) throughout the library system;
  • and continuing enrichment of our system-wide early childhood literacy programs.

None of these improvements could have happened without the support of all our donors, large and small. We will be sure to share more information as each of these enhancements becomes a reality.

Continuing thanks on behalf of the entire APLF Board.

We hope to see you soon at the library!

Community Giving. Community Strong.

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It’s NEVER too late to go back to school! (Posted: 08/05/2021)

Career Online High School

What is Career Online High School (COHS)?
COHS through the Public Library of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County is open to Albuquerque and Bernalillo County residents who are at least 19 years old and have successfully completed 8th grade and wish to earn their high school diploma. Applicants who successfully complete an online self-assessment and prerequisite course, followed by an in-person interview, will be considered for enrollment. Program applicants must have a library card in good standing or be willing to apply for a library card.

How will students be selected for the program?
Enrollment is limited, and demand is high. Currently, six students are receiving full scholarships. To support the launch of this program, the New Mexico State Library is offering matching scholarships to initial enrollees through public and tribal libraries across New Mexico.

The six scholarships covered by the Sandia National Laboratories Educational Success Grant are being matched by the State Library, enabling our library system to enroll a total of 12 students at this time.

Prospective students must successfully complete an online assessment. Once the self-assessment is completed, prospective students will be contacted by library staff and, if they are eligible, will be given a link to a two-week prerequisite course.

Those who pass the prerequisite course with a 70% or above score within two weeks will be interviewed in person by a team of library staff members to determine if they will receive a scholarship. Successful completion of the prerequisite course does not guarantee a scholarship will be awarded. Scholarships are given on a rolling basis.

Click here for a complete program overview.

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Thank you Sandia National Laboratories! (Posted: 08/05/2021)

Sandia National Labs

APLF is pleased to be awarded a Sandia Educational Success Grant to be used for scholarships to the Career Online High School.

Sandia is committed to improving the lives of people in our local communities by increasing family stability, improving educational success, and supporting community leadership.

We sincerely thank Sandia for this award.

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Why I Give - Suzanne Apodaca, APLF Board Member (Posted: 08/05/2021)

Suzanne Apodaca

I come from a family of readers. Libraries have always been a part of my life. The library provided an inexhaustible supply of books on any and every subject. I could read for pleasure, professional & personal development, or just lose myself for a bit. Libraries have been a place to gather, and they have been a quiet place to pass some time. I have always found the atmosphere in a library very healing.

As a young person, I visited the local library often. I remember the card catalog, the small sheets of paper, and those three-inch pencils that were provided so I could write down the Dewey Decimal number before I headed off into the rows of books. As I got older, I’d go to the library to study and hang out with friends. As an adult, I have used the library to research things, from craft ideas to travel plans.

When I had a daughter, I continued the tradition of using the local library. We would visit every couple of weeks so she could check out books—some picture books she could “read” herself and others that I would read to her. She was a fan and spent lots of time there during high school and college.

Prior to the pandemic, I took my five-year-old grandson to the library every week. Often, we would run into my daughter, who was studying for a career-related exam. The staff was very welcoming to my grandson—he settled right down and was delighted when they asked him to sign his own library card. He couldn’t write at the time, but that did not stop the process when he proudly placed his “X.” He soon became an expert at checking out his weekly picks!

I miss those weekly outings of ours. It was our time together. He played with the puzzles and the blocks and always checked out a book or two for his mom or sister to read to him. We are looking forward to resuming our time there.

Today, as Treasurer of the ABQ Public Library Foundation, I am still a fan. Most of what I read comes from my local library. Things look a little different—I can find my books from home, and they download instantly to my Kindle. My husband and I travel in our RV, and we always borrow an audiobook or two for the trip.

Libraries have enhanced my life, and I never want that to change. That is why I give.

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A Letter from Julia Clarke, President APLF (Posted: 07/09/2021)

Julia Clarke

Libraries meet you where you are. . .

. . . at every stage of life. 21st -century life is busy, and there are new challenges every step of the way. Whether it’s taking care of a newborn, helping a fourth-grader with a science fair project, learning a new skill for work, finding something for a teenager with a broken arm, or for a family elder learning to live with the challenge of vision loss.

Library staff members share heartwarming stories of new parents being thrilled to have digital resources available when their babies aren’t sleeping through the night, or of finding just the right audiobooks available to download when it’s not possible to hold a physical book, finding a resource to teach the basics of a software program being introduced at work, and of finding an engaging large print book or audiobook for those family members with vision challenges. The examples are endless. This work happens day in and day out, hour by hour, at all our libraries.

Our public libraries meet you where you are and help you find “just the right thing” for the situation at hand—even if you just need a really funny movie to boost your spirits or a classic holiday tear-jerker, we’re here.

Thank you for your interest in our public libraries. Your continuing support ensures that The Public Library, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County remains a vibrant and effective member of the community, serving all who come through the doors of each of our 18 (and soon to be 19!) libraries every day.

Community Giving. Community Strong.

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Read to the Dogs (Posted: 07/09/2021)

Read to the dogs

One of the many programs supported by the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation is Read to the Dogs. We are looking forward to a return to regular programming at the library that will include this popular and enriching family program.

Program Overview: Trained volunteer handlers bring their registered pet therapy dogs into the library and provide children with an opportunity to read aloud. The registered pet therapy dog sits calmly and quietly for a story, which creates a relaxing atmosphere, and the adults do not correct a child’s reading. This gives children an opportunity to practice their reading skills without fear or judgment. Parents may sit quietly in the room with their child or take this moment to find a book and read just outside the program area.

Why Dogs? We are pleased to provide this nationally recognized program to our families. In a 10-week study by the University of California, researchers found a 12 percent increase in reading fluency by the group reading to dogs and no improvement by the group that didn’t read to dogs. It was reported by 75 percent of the parents that their children read aloud more frequently and with greater confidence after reading to the dogs. Children who practice reading have greater success in school, and children who feel successful go on to read at higher grade levels. Through this program, the Public Library hopes children will relate to reading in a positive way and become lifelong readers. Source: Canine buddies help youth develop reading skills

While we wait for this program to return, we suggest that you encourage the young readers in your home to read to their dog or your family pet, just like Elena is doing. (It can be harder to do with cats, but some have succeeded!) Sit quietly nearby and don’t correct their reading—be present, listen and encourage the attempt.

You’ll find more information here: Read to the Dogs Brochure

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Westgate Public Library (Posted: 07/09/2021)

Westgate Library

1300 Delgado SW Albuquerque, NM 87121

One of the joys of being a new-ish APLF Board member and writing for this newsletter is discovering libraries in our library system that I have never visited. Generally, we are creatures of habit. My “home” library is Erna Ferguson, and my “sanctuary” library is Special Collections. Special Collections is where I go to think, absorbing the beauty created through the creative partnership of architect Arthur Rossiter and artist Gustave Baumann.

But for this July issue of BOOKISH, I traveled to the city’s western edge and discovered the Westgate Library off 98th Street. Having passed this exit on I-40 more times than I can count, it was time!

Westgate Library, like the South Valley Library, is part of a larger community-centered public space in the Westgate Heights neighborhood. Surrounded by the carefully tended rolling green lawn and trees of Benny J. Aragon Park, I discovered the Carlos Rey Elementary School and the Carlos Rey / West Gate Child Development Center featuring the beautiful mural painted by Ana M. Mastrogiovanni (see above). The Child Development Center is right next door to the library and offers preschool and pre-k programs.

Malcolm Alonzo, Library Services Supervisor, welcomed me at the door. Opened in 1998, the Westgate Library is small and intimate, as libraries go, with a huge impact on the neighborhood it serves. I knew I had found a kindred spirit when Malcolm referred to libraries as “inspiration centers.” For many, the library is a place of privacy, a place that offers choice and structure and teaches about responsibility. Malcolm especially loves teaching kids how to put holds on books in order to think differently about time. You may not be able to have something now, but by waiting, you can have it later. A good life skill to learn, I’d say.

Free computers and internet access are a lifeline to this community of predoinantly Spanish speakers, which means pandemic closures have been especially hard at this library. The opportunity to learn computer skills for free is essential in this neighborhood, as in many others. “My job is to remove the frustration,” Malcolm shared, and also pointed out that telephone services for reference questions are also an important continuing service to patrons. Thankfully, as library services open up and life reckons with the “new normal,” one by one, folks are returning.

On the morning I visited, the library staff was thrilled that two young adults had just come in. They were so happy to see teenagers starting to use the library again. In this very close-knit community, word of mouth travels fast, and people are slowly trickling back in—the return of the swallows, so to speak. Regular patrons have been so missed.

Identifying customer needs and linking to available community services is fundamental at all our libraries. At the Westgate Public Library, in addition to literacy programs for kids and one-on-one help with computer literacy and research skills, the library staff pay special attention to services for veterans and for those recently incarcerated returning home.

The staff who make all this happen are:

Sabrina Edwards (Library Paraprofessional): Because Westgate has only two full-time city staff and one part-time library associate, Sabrina covers many responsibilities. She processes new materials, including magazines, prepares the daily cash report, and is responsible for children’s programming, including story time. Sabrina enjoys working with children, especially the kids at the Child Development Center next door. She has two cats and is definitely a cat person.

Mariama Rivera (Library Associate): Mariama has worked for the library as a page and now an associate since 2014. She processes holds, reshelves books, prepares displays, and is the backup for cash reporting. She enjoys road trips to the great outdoors and spending time with her family.

Malcolm Alonzo (Library Services Supervisor): Malcolm. grew up on the Pine Hill Navajo Reservation and is a veteran who also lives in the neighborhood. He joined the library system in 2012, having worked previously at the Los Griegos and the South Broadway Libraries. Malcolm loves being a person of color behind the counter, that visible person who is always there to welcome children, teenagers, and families and help them learn how to use the library.

Thanks for all you do! Amy Henne, APLF Board Member

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Why I Give (Posted: 07/09/2021)

Samantha Gallegos

Samantha Meyer Gallegos, Board Member
Albuquerque Public Library Foundation

Read a parenting article about raising a resilient child, and you’ll inevitably be told to give children memories on which they can look back in times of stress.

2020 was a time of stress for all of us, and I, too, found myself turning back to memories of my childhood. Growing up with a mother and grandmother who were librarians, libraries have always been a part of my life. And so, many of those memories revolved around a library.

I remember being two and going to storytime at the library in Redondo Beach, California. I remember a green lawn on a hill, the view of the sunlit ocean shimmering in the distance, the warmth of the sun and my mom’s arms, and the stories.

I remember my award-winning elementary school library where I, a shy, introverted, quiet kid, would go during recess (and before school and after school), tuck myself into a corner, and get lost in history, or fantasy, or an experience or place different than my own. That library was always busy, always welcoming, always fun. And it always, always welcomed (celebrated!) reading and imagination.

When my father passed away, that library was a place of refuge, but more than that, the library, the librarian, and all the volunteers gathered around us and took us in. They helped us turn tragedy into good in the world when, together, we built the first technology center in a school in New Mexico because the librarian knew that learning was not going to remain a domain for only physical books for much longer.

In middle school and high school, my work-study classes were in the library. It was the moment of my day when I could recharge, find some peace, and, more often than not, get lost in a book that I was actually supposed to be shelving.

I worked at libraries in college. In fact, one of the chief reasons I wanted to go to the University of Washington was for its libraries. (Not in the least because of the Harry Potter-esque, Gothic Suzzallo Library Reading Room.) When I was feeling lonely and homesick, I went to the libraries because they felt like home and because I could get lost in the shelves and shelves and shelves of books.

More than that, libraries and books are such an enormous part of why I’m a writer today. They are why I’ve been able to hold on to my imagination and a sense of whimsy, curiosity, openness, and a life-long love of exploration that so many seem to lose as they grow out of childhood. These ideas, the love of learning and discovering through reading, are what I am making sure to pass on to my children.

Libraries are about learning, about going beyond yourself, and learning to go beyond yourself. They’re about empathy and understanding and seeing the world in a different way than the one you’ve always known. They preserve the past while uplifting the future. They care about the communities they’re in, and they—and their staff—lift those communities in ways most people don’t understand and will never see.

They are safe. They are welcoming. They are home.
Libraries are vital in so many, many ways, and that’s why I give.

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A Letter from Julia Clarke, President APLF (Posted: 06/03/2021)

Julia Clarke

Dear Library Supporters,

As I write this letter, our Albuquerque and Bernalillo County library communities are just beginning to experience the relaxation of many of the protective restrictions that have governed our actions since March of last year. Our public libraries are starting to add services with the safety of library users and library staff in mind.

We anticipate many of you will enjoy visiting the library for the first time in months, engaging with the staff, and reacquainting yourselves with the books, music, and movie options available for all ages. Enjoy yourselves!

We extend a warm welcome to our new readers to BOOKISH. It is our hope that this monthly newsletter on the people and places that make up The Public Library, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County will continue to entertain and inform.

Your financial support of the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation (APLF) and your votes for public library issues on City, County, and State ballots are deeply appreciated. Thank you for joining APLF in supporting our marvelous library staff as they continue to provide responsive programming and services to our community.

Community Giving. Community Strong.

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The NEW International District Library - Opening Late 2021! (Posted: 06/03/2021)

International LibraryInternational LibraryInternational Library

In Albuquerque, the International District is the most diverse demographic area of the city—you can hear more than 27 languages spoken there. The community currently has limited access to books, computers, or free Internet services. The new library for this district will change all of that and more. The International District Library, being constructed at 7605 Central NE, will be open 7-days a week and will cost approximately $11.9 million, paid for by city, county, and state bond funds.

“I’ve always been connected to libraries... The library is probably one of the most important things in my life. It’s a center for democracy and a community.”
– Rudolfo Anaya, from the Albuquerque Journal, March 15, 2018

The new International District Library will be a place for the community to gather and for children to play with and access materials that ensure readiness to read, expanded vocabularies, and enhanced language skills. Older children will find recreational materials as well as resources to help with homework. Parents will have access to all of the public library system services, which will help enhance their quality of life. Opening late 2021.

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South Valley Library (Posted: 06/03/2021)

South Valley LibrarySouth Valley Library

3904 Isleta SW, Albuquerque, NM 87105

Many consider the South Valley to be the true soul of Albuquerque. I would have to agree—the drive here always confirms that. Located a quarter mile south of Rio Bravo Blvd. and Isleta Blvd SW, the South Valley Library is at the intersection of Isleta Blvd. and Camino del Valle.

The library itself is part of a community complex that includes the Rio Bravo Senior Center, the South Valley Pool and Splash Pad, the Rio Bravo Skate Park, and several beautiful murals that celebrate the culture of New Mexico and this long-established community.

This community gathering place is a wonderful working example of what Eric Klinenberg describes as “social infrastructure” in his book, Palaces for the People. Klienberg states, “Different kinds of social infrastructure play different roles in the local environment, and support different kinds of social ties.” This South Valley multi-generational community complex supports all ages and social needs.

As I drove into the parking lot, Reanna Fox, Branch Manager for the library, was opening the front doors. Her warm welcome and introductions to staff made me feel right “at home,” and we began by talking about what was unique to the library. An hour and several pages of notes later, I realized there was more happening here than I had ever imagined. What a delight to learn!

Reanna was eager to share the vibrant outreach programming made available during the pandemic by South Valley Library staff to this wonderful community. She shared a bit about each staff member:

  • Manuel Garcia, Library Paraprofessional. Manuel is the most fluent Spanish speaker on staff and is continually sought after by those library customers for whom Spanish is their first language. He is also a wiz with computer instruction and problem solving. Currently working on his MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science) degree, Manuel is an active member of the community school councils and is a dog person.
  • Mark Maravetz, Library Paraprofessional. Mark has over 30 years of service within our library system and does the lionʼs share of community outreach for South Valley. His theater background and talents have been put to good use during the pandemic as he crafted online storytimes for children. Mark is the local movie guru who can answer most movie questions. He is also the go-to tech person for any filming done by the South Valley Library. During the pandemic closures, Mark cleaned almost every single book in the children’s department. He loves cats.
  • Rachel Montoya, Library Paraprofessional. Rachel has a soft spot for seniors in the library community. During the pandemic, she made wellness phone calls to seniors for whom the library is their primary source of social contact. Rachel also likes working with special needs customers and their families. Rachel is one of the people customers go to for their technology questions. She enjoys designing escape rooms, and she loves cats.
  • Reanna Fox, Branch Manager. Reanna joined our library system in 2015. Her professional background includes being a bookseller. This lends a certain approach while organizing the always unfolding library displays designed to invite patrons to join the library adventure. During the pandemic, Reanna sewed 700 masks during her lunch hours and breaks. These masks were shared with South Valley library staff and family members as well as other library branches. Library customers were also gifted with masks in small, medium, and large sizes, and in some cases, customers were measured for a custom fit. Once all these folks were properly masked, Reanna gifted Health Care for the Homeless with the remaining masks. She loves cozy mysteries, needlecrafts, cats, and the (actual) color purple.


  • The South Valley Library was originally opened in 1958 by the Lions Club in the Westside Community Center as an all-volunteer library. In 1974, the library moved to its own building and became the first library built and administered by Bernalillo County.
  • The current South Valley Library building opened in 1990. It was designed by Jorge de la Torre in the New Mexico Vernacular style and has won several architectural awards. The library includes two study rooms, a program room, an Early Literacy Center, and a large children’s area with seating nooks. There are 15 free public computers, two of which are set up for Spanish readers.
  • As our library system slowly begins to re-open to the public with services and programming, everyone is so eager to welcome back friends, neighbors, and children of all ages. The South Valley Library contains one of the largest circulating Spanish book sections and an extensive Spanish children’s book section arranged creatively according to interest areas.
  • In 2019, the South Valley Library became the first library in our library system to offer a free Code Camp for one week during the summer. It was a big hit, and they are looking forward to starting it again. To be able to provide access to programs that help develop such a professional talent to young adults is worthy of note. Aimed at 13–17-year-olds, library staff also are welcoming to the younger brothers or sisters that come along and have even developed activities to suit other age levels.
  • As pandemic restrictions are slowly lifted, the South Valley Library will again offer many different programs for all age groups, from babies and toddlers to teenagers and grandparents. They will include Read to the Dogs, Origami, Mystery Activity for Kids, Lego Club, Baby-Toddler Storytime, Family Movie Afternoon, Adult Coloring, Fiction Book Club, Computer classes in English and Spanish, Basic Technology (eReader/Tablets), and Sensory Storytime. The Summer Reading program is open to all ages.
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Why I Give to the Public Library? (Posted: 06/03/2021)

Scott Perkins

A Lifelong Investment for a Life of Returns!
Scott F. Perkins, APLF Board Member

As a young child growing up in Massachusetts, I developed a passion for rock and mineral collecting. My mom and dad would take me to mineral shops and collection spots throughout New England to feed my passion. One point my parents made clear to me was that to understand and learn more about mineral collecting, I would have to read and learn more about the formation and properties of minerals! I thought, okay, so, how do I do that?

We lived in a small town with a public library. I went in and asked about the section on rocks and minerals and took out three or four books on the subject. The world opened for me! This led me to a better understanding of how and why minerals and rocks form, and it really expanded my knowledge of geology and the earth!

A big part of this was a sense of accomplishment in getting my first library card. With it, I could go and explore and check out that perfect book to further my pursuit of knowledge!

In high school, I knew that I wanted to be involved in the field of geology and the earth sciences. I read my way through the local library and then reached out to other facilities, such as the MIT and Harvard University Mineral Collections and their bookstores. On all family trips, we would take a field trip to understand the local geology or hit a collecting area! I had a book in my hand about the area we were going to see so I could better understand its geology. The key to this all was that I gained access to the books through the public library.

We took a trip to Hawaii, which really kicked off an appetite for knowledge on volcanoes. I was really taken by their beauty and power, so I reached out from our local library to the US Geological Survey. Around this time, I became a big fan of Stephen J Gould; I would read his columns in Natural History Magazine and his many books. He really lit a fire in me to understand the history of the earth and life on it.

At the end of high school, I spent time seeing how I could continue this passion and pursued a degree in geotechnical engineering at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, NM. I found a fantastic school library there that really furthered my passion. My career has kept me involved with the earth and how it works.

Since moving to Albuquerque, I have been a big user of the Albuquerque Public Library and the UNM Library. I have explored new places and theories in science through the books that I have read and appreciated. I can learn so much by just reading, and it has opened new worlds for me. I also find it very calming to pick up a book on many diverse topics and learn to appreciate the world.

It all comes down to having the curiosity and passion for exploring and learning by connecting with a vast pool of knowledge called the library. The potential to me is limitless!

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Friends of the Public Library Sale (Posted: 06/03/2021)

Friends of the Library

50% Off Sale during the month of June!

WHERE: Main Library Community Room.
WHEN: Tuesday and Friday from 10 to 3 or by appointment. Free admission.

Limited appointments are available on Wednesdays, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm. Call (505) 768-5167 to schedule.

Two-hour validated parking available in parking structure kitty-corner from library.

For further information, call 505 768-5167 or check their website!

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A Letter from Julia Clarke, President APLF (Posted: 05/05/2021)

Julia Clarke

Dear Library Supporters,

I speak for the entire APLF Board of Directors when I say that we are overwhelmed with the positive response to our first Library Giving Day campaign. Because the campaign continued through April 30, we need a bit of additional time to announce the results. However, one thing came through loud and clear: Albuquerque and Bernalillo County residents love their libraries. In addition to generous donations, many shared their gratitude for the fabulous staff and resources available at our public libraries. Here are a few examples:

  • “Thank you for many happy hours Reading!”
  • “Thank you for all you do, especially during these COVID times. My audiobooks have been a lifeline!”
  • “I dedicate this donation to the staff – especially during the last year of pandemic restrictions…. I appreciate all the help and services the staff have provided me….”

We also were so pleased with the support of many devoted readers who attended the April 6 “A Word with Writers” event. Kirstin Valdez Quade was an engaging guest, and a wonderful ambassador for the talent nurtured in New Mexico. If you would like a copy of The Five Wounds with a signed bookplate, please contact Bookworks. You might enjoy the Bookworks YouTube page as well.

It’s hard to believe summer is upon us. We have our fingers crossed that it will soon be safe for readers of all ages to return to their libraries and begin exploring all the exciting things they have to offer! If your students need additional support as the school year winds down, please don’t forget the Homework Help resource—live tutors at your fingertips!

Whatever your needs, our libraries have something to offer!

Community Giving. Community Strong.

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My Life in Libraries—All in a Three Mile Radius (Posted: 05/05/2021)

Maria Geer

By Maria Geer
APLF Board Member

Having always lived in Albuquerque, I have found library resources integral to every stage of my education. It started in my little elementary school library, which provided my earliest access to a library long before the San Pedro Library came into my childhood neighborhood.

High school similarly included a library on the campus. Learning to drive at age 15 expanded my access to our city’s libraries—the Ernie Pyle Library was just a short drive from home and a cozy entre to Albuquerque’s library system. The jewel in the crown was old Main, now Special Collections, with its stacks and rather noisy metal platforms.

Starting college at UNM opened a new world of libraries: Fine Arts, Business School, Law School, Medical School, and the jewel in the crown, Zimmerman Library, with its beautiful study room with the long tables and beautiful lamps. Of course, the stacks were amazing, populated as they were by thousands of books and many carrels.

During my time in graduate school, I was privileged to have a carrel where I could work in a quiet space and keep the books I was working with close at hand. Though somewhat dusty, my carrel in the stacks of Zimmerman Library was bright and comfortable. During graduate school, I found it useful to take advantage of some of the other libraries on the campus, usually the Medical School Library, then located in the former Coca-Cola bottling plant, and the Law School Library. Upon completing a master’s degree and starting law school, I was able to get a carrel in the Law School Library, overlooking the golf course at UNM’s North Campus.

Through all of these wonderful libraries, whether at UNM or the City of Albuquerque, the most consistent characteristic was the warmth and amazing breadth of the librarians’ knowledge. Of course, our wonderful librarians were and are always ready and willing to help with obscure and not so obscure research issues. Just today, the librarian for the New Mexico Supreme Court was able to find an item from 1990 that is not widely available; she found the paper item and sent it to us within an hour.

Libraries are not only utilitarian. I derive pleasure in frequenting our wonderful library system. As important as personal use of our libraries may be, the societal good which our libraries provide moves me to contribute.

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Why Libraries Are he Cornerstone Of Democracy (Posted: 05/05/2021)

Dan Rather

By Dan Rather

Venerated journalist Dan Rather is a longtime supporter of libraries. His recent book, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism, includes a powerful chapter about libraries as “temples of learning,” where people of all backgrounds can come together to access information. Here are some excerpts from his recent article published In the American Library Associationʼs on-line initiative, ilovelibraries. Full article available here.

Do you have a favorite library memory?
I have many fond memories of the library but my favorite would have to be the day I got my library card. As a young boy, the card was my prized possession. To think that the son of an oil field worker could hold a key to unlock the endless stacks of knowledge that lived within the most spectacular building I had ever seen, was an amazement. It was a special moment that helped define my path in life.

How do you use the library now?
Technology has given us great advances over the years. As we receive wonderful tools like laptops and smartphones, that means “screen time” has skyrocketed. When I want to give my eyes a break and read things “the old fashioned way,” the library has never let me down. There’s nothing quite like setting down and letting the outside world melt away—no pings or electronic beeps, just the sounds of the flip of a page between your fingers and the story unfolding.

However, for those more digitally-inclined, it is important to note that libraries are also great technological centers. Libraries truly provide the best of both worlds: access to equipment when gadgets are needed, and a space away from the noise when quiet study is wanted.

Why are libraries so important in today’s society?
Libraries have a transformative effect on lives of all ages, the communities in which they reside, and the country as a whole. They were, and still are, civic institutions that welcome anyone who wishes to become a more informed and independent citizen. There is no other public resource that so well encapsulates this aspirational notion of democracy.

Through the library, through books, through knowledge, through access to technology, we all can improve to become better, more learned, versions of ourselves and, in turn, be better neighbors to those around us.

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Shopping with AmazonSmile Makes a Difference! (Posted: 05/05/2021)

Amazon Smile

The Albuquerque Public Library Foundation supports shopping locally. However, should you shop with Amazon, we are delighted to share that you can now use the Amazon Shopping app on your mobile phone to sign up for AmazonSmile and select “Albuquerque Public Library Foundation” as your favorite charity.

You will make a difference while you shop in the Amazon app, at no extra cost to you. Simply follow the instructions below to activate AmazonSmile in the app and select "Albuquerque Public Library Foundation Inc" as your charity. Amazon will donate a portion of your eligible mobile app purchases to us. Thank you!

How it works:

  1. Open the Amazon app on your phone
  2. Select the main menu (=) & tap on "AmazonSmile" within Programs & Features
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to activate AmazonSmile in the mobile app
  4. Select "Albuquerque Public Library Foundation Inc" as your charity

Community Giving. Community Strong.

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A Letter from Julia Clarke, President APLF (Posted: 04/08/2021)

Julia Clarke

Dear Library Supporters,

Wednesday, April 7 is Library Giving Day — a great day to support The Public Library of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County by making a donation during our first Library Giving Day campaign. All unrestricted donations will be matched by a generous donor through the end of April.

2020 and its multiple challenges have illuminated the reality that our public libraries must be there for you when you need them - in person and on-line. Our Library Giving Day campaign underscores the fact that public libraries, small and large, serve as essential public resources for Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. The 21st century library is more than books – it’s the staff, the programs, the books, the digital resources and a gathering place for our community to come together.

Beginning in March 2020, the public library not only helped demystify the challenges of the pandemic but also supplied our community with e-books and audiobooks, online databases as well as both useful and entertaining digital resources.

Staff continue to supply curated lists for reading and learning new skills, original online videos to entertain and teach, and so much more. Our libraries currently are open and services, such as computer access, are slowly being reintroduced with COVID-safe practices. This is wonderful news, especially for those with limited or no computer or internet access.

Won’t you join us in this opportunity to double the value of your gift? Click here to donate.

Thanking you in advance-
Community Giving. Community Strong.

Julia Clarke, President, Board of Directors
Albuquerque Public Library Foundation (APLF)

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Friends Of The Public Library Bookshop and Book Sales are BACK! (Posted: 04/08/2021)

Friends of the Public Library logo

The Friends of The Public Library is excited to announce that beginning Tuesday, March 30, the bookshop has reopened and book sales will resume! For most current information, please check their website at friendsofthepubliclibrary.org. COVID-safe guidelines are followed, so masks and social distancing will be required. Occupancy is limited; new hours are below. They look forward to seeing you soon!

NEW BOOKSHOP HOURS Monday – Friday, 10:30 am – 2:00 pm

BOOK SALES Tuesdays and Fridays, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Wednesdays, by appointment. Call (505) 768-5167 to schedule.

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Why I Give to the Public Library (Posted: 04/08/2021)

John Heidrich

John E. Heidrich, PhD, DVM, APLF Board Member

Libraries are a focal point for my daily work.
I need libraries in my day-to-day work understanding new clinical breakthroughs and as a repository of reference sources for my research work. Over the years, my work has been varied - from vaccine and drug development to development of basic cellular and immunological models to understanding chronic pain and in my professional life as a clinical veterinarian. Libraries safely guard all the published building blocks of information and allow everyone to share the hard work through which scientific information leads to answers for difficult questions. This is important to me.

Libraries fill my imagination and my senses.
Public libraries are now community centers that provide much more than collections of books full of wonderful stories. I cannot recall a time spent in the public libraries during my pre-teen and teen years without recalling the scent inside these wonderful buildings. As a child growing up in Albuquerque, it brings back wonderful memories.

Remembering our weekend adventures as children to the old Main Library on Central and Edith brings a flashback sensation of the hint of the oil protected vigas, and the large wooden chairs mixed with the musty smell of the books. Springtime weekends we walked from the car, through a snowstorm of elm seeds on the sidewalk and the fragrance of yellow flowered Spanish Broom. Saturdays were filled with stories being read to us as we sat on the floor in the children’s room. The best part of the day was the check out, watching the librarian stamp the cards, placing the card in the pocket making those books mine for a few weeks. I was enchanted, walking out with a pile of books under my arm looking forward to secrets buried in the pages.

As teenagers we gathered in the evenings for group study at the Erna Fergusson Library from the first day it was opened. This building had great lighting, clean new tables and a hint of left-over fresh paint. Those few years during high school I was obsessed reading every book at Erna Fergusson I could find about President Lincoln.

My UNM undergraduate studies led me to the huge study hall at Zimmerman that had a different scent, but still the comfort of the large wooden desks with individual lighting. This was one of the best study areas I have ever found in all the different libraries in which I have done reference work. We could be disappointed and not get a seat if we arrived early enough when the desks were fully occupied with other students. Searches for journals and books as I worked my way deeper into the stacks, presented a stronger and stronger musty smell. I recall a hint of aerosolized New Mexico sand from the latest dust storm.

And then there is the wonderful, breathtaking view from the UNM Medical School Library of the Sandia Mountains covered with snow or a teasing thunder shower of the virga. Those views have made the many hours digging into research journals a true gift.

Public libraries simply never have enough funding. I joined the APLF Board to help inform our local and state legislators about the developing needs and to find ways to let the community know about the wonderful services our libraries provide for our entire diverse community. Learning about how committed our city and county librarians and staff are to these goals has not disappointed me. I hope you will support us.

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Get Your High School Diploma Through the Public Library (Posted: 04/08/2021)

High school diploma

Your Public Library, the New Mexico State Library and the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation are partnering to provide a chance for selected community members to earn a full high school diploma through the Career Online HIgh School. Career Online High School (COHS) is an online high school diploma and career certification program available through the Public Library. This program offers free enrollment to a limited number of qualified adult students.

Who can apply to COHS?
Career Online High School through the Public Library of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County is open to residents of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County who are at least 19 years old, have successfully completed 8th grade, and wish to earn their high school diploma. Applicants who successfully complete an online self-assessment and prerequisite course, followed by an in-person interview, will be considered for enrollment. Program applicants must have a library card in good standing or be willing to apply for a library card.

How will people be selected for the program?
Enrollment is limited and demand is expected to be high. Prospective students must successfully complete an online assessment. Once the self-assessment is completed, prospective students will be contacted by their libraries and if they are eligible will be given a link to a two-week prerequisite course. Those who pass the prerequisite course with a score of 70% or above within a two-week period will then be interviewed in person by their libraries to determine if they will receive a scholarship. Successful completion of the prerequisite course does not guarantee a scholarship will be awarded.

Click here for more information.

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A Letter from Julia Clarke, President APLF (Posted: 03/12/2021)

Julia Clarke

Dear Library Supporters,

Library Giving Day is being celebrated nationally on April 7. This event gives library lovers like you the chance to elevate and support our library system through an unrestricted financial gift to the Foundation.

2020 has posed seemingly endless challenges for our entire community. However, when it has been safe to do so, our public libraries have been a constant presence—offering e-resources online 24/7 and library staff available to answer any and all questions in person, by phone and by email.

Library Giving Day is your opportunity to show appreciation and support for the 18 Public Libraries across Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. By making an unrestricted gift to the Foundation between now and April 30, your gift will be matched by another generous donor.

Another way to show your support to the Foundation is to attend the April 6 virtual “A Word with Writers” presentation by Kirstin Valdez Quade. Ms. Quade will be discussing her newest book The Five Wounds: A Novel. Tickets are available through Bookworks. A hardcover copy of the book is included with each ticket.

Community Giving. Community Strong.

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A Word with Writers Featuring Kirstin Valdez Quade (Posted: 03/12/2021)

The Five Wounds

April 6, 2021, 6pm

Bookworks and the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation are pleased to present Kirstin Valdez Quade for A Word with Writers April 6, 2021 at 6 pm. From this award-winning storyteller comes her stunning debut novel about a New Mexican family’s extraordinary year of love and sacrifice. The Five Wounds: A Novel has been selected as one of Oprah Magazineʼs Most Anticipated Books of 2021 and continues to receive pre-publication praise.

Kirstin Valdez Quade is originally from New Mexico. She now lives in New Jersey where she teaches at Princeton University. Her collection of short stories, Night at the Fiestas won the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize. Kirstin is the recipient of a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation, the Rome Prize, and the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, New York Times, The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and elsewhere. Many of you may remember her appearance at a 2015 “A Word with Writers” event at the KiMo Theatre.

Tickets are available for this ZOOM event through Bookworks. A hardcover copy of this much-anticipated book is included with the purchase of your ticket. Please join us for a memorable gathering.

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Lomas Tramway Library (Posted: 03/12/2021)

Lomas Tramway Library

809 Eastridge Drive NE. Off Tramway @ Eastridge

Since 1987, serving the neighborhoods of Chelwood Hills, Embudo Canyon, Four Hills, Granada HIlls, Singing Arrow and Supper Rock

Walking inside the Lomas Tramway Library, my eye was immediately captivated by Maera Green’s sculpture - Colorful Cloud. Upon entering, you’ll find her ethereal work suspended from a domed ceiling with a round window opening to a gorgeous New Mexico sky. Come discover it yourself! Ms Green’s beautiful work is part of the CABQ Public Arts Collection on display throughout the library, 9 pieces in all. There is much to enjoy here, including the view of our beautiful Sandia Mountains through the east-facing windows. One can well imagine this has been a favorite spot for reading, rest and contemplation for many patrons.

Crystal Sanchez, Branch Manager of Lomas Tramway was eager to share about 2 special programs Lomas Tramway offers their customers. Like all our libraries, library programs are put together by tapping into the talents and interests of both library staff, as well as the users of the library. Crystal and her capable staff are looking forward to the time when programs can be started up again for the enjoyment of all.

When libraries are fully open again, you’ll discover Escape Room Programs for all age groups - Kids, Teens, and Adults. These are similar to what you might find in professional escape room venues, just on a smaller scale. Talented staff member Elegy Sonata creates her own multi-layered puzzle where a mystery or a problem is posed and patrons must find clues and solve puzzles to unlock another clue and solve another puzzle and so on until they solve the entire puzzle. The event is timed and patrons must solve the puzzle before it is too late! Elegy does all the prep work herself including creating the story, puzzles, and lock boxes.

Another well-attended program is the Travel Program and is also unique to the Lomas Tramway Library. Long-time library neighbors, Marsha and Howard Seltzer, have traveled extensively around the globe and share their photographs, personal stories and knowledge of the culture, customs and foods, along with “must-see” places and things. Like all in-person programs, these programs will return when the library is able to safely host both presenters and participants.

In the meantime, Crystal and the library staff have recognized patrons are wanting more and more to learn about and how to use digital materials (eBooks and eAudiobooks). This is wonderful because they can access library material without leaving their home which is perfect for social distancing. Since the pandemic, library staff have been catering to folks needing help downloading and using online applications and wanting to know how to download books to their phones or e-readers. They either call or come in for help, whatever is best for them.

According to Crystal, “We are able to teach our patrons how to utilize new technology. In doing so, we are able to help them adapt to the new environment that Covid has brought to our doorstep.” Adapt, adjust and grow seems to be a common theme for all of us.

Lomas Tramway Library has a total of 8 staff members, including Crystal. Here, she shares a little about each of them.

Cheryl Mugleston – Our children’s librarian has been with the system for over 20 years and always brings joy and excitement to the children and families that come into the library. She loves storytime and she creates a special experience with her beloved puppets Fritz and Zelda who are favorites among Lomas Tramway families.

Sandy Morris – Our circulation supervisor is an expert with Lomas Tramway’s collection and is always striving to make the library look nice, neat and keep things running smoothly. Sandy loves putting together fun programs to keep our community excited about the library. Tim Bustamante – Our Inter-Library Loan expert, TIm works diligently with Main Library staff to get our customers the books they need. He keeps supplies well-stocked to have everything needed to serve our customers.

Elegy Sonata - Elegy is our Escape Room guru. She has created popular Escape Rooms for all ages and brings heaps of creativity and artistic ability.

Jennifer Lee - Is a newer member to Lomas Tramway. Jennifer always knows how to find answers to even the toughest reference questions and is always excited to create new and fun displays that will help our readers find their next favorite book.

Sara Cordova - Sara is another Lomas Tramway newcomer who is extremely creative and excited about creating fun programming. She has written wonderful scripts for our digital puppet shows.

Corey Bowen - Corey is always striving to learn new things and his friendliness is sure to brighten any customer’s day. He brings with him a light-hearted humor that is sure to make anyone he meets smile and laugh.

Each of the 18 libraries within our Albuquerque Bernalillo County Public Library system have something unique to offer. I encourage you to take “a little field trip” to this part of Albuquerque and discover the Lomas Tramway Library for yourself.

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A Tale of Five Libraries (Posted: 03/12/2021)

Wyoming Public Library

I give back because libraries have given so much to me.
Bruce St John, APLF Board Member

When asked why libraries are important to me, I often answer with A Tale of Five Libraries.

I grew up on a small family farm outside Wyoming, Illinois. My mother was my high school English teacher and when a term paper was assigned, all her students were directed to the Wyoming Public Library — a one story, one room library donated by Andrew Carnegie (see photo).

The Seymour Library at Knox College in Galesburg Illinois was next. Home to more than 500,000 volumes plus hundreds of journals, magazines, and newspapers, I spent many hours within this beautifully maintained academic sanctuary.

Most of 1968 was spent researching my doctoral dissertation on Peruvian foreign policy at the biblioteca of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru. Housed in the Torre Tagle Palace in Lima, this magnificent building was completed in 1735 in the Baroque style and has unforgettable wooden balconies.

The Paris Institute of Political Studies, or Sciences Po, is found in the Saint Germain des Prés Quarter on the Left Bank in Paris. It’s a state-of-the-art bibliotheque where I turn to for research on North Africa and Southeast Asia.

The Siam Society in Bangkok, Thailand was established in 1904. This modern library is housed in a compound of teak houses relocated from northern Thailand. For me, it has long been a source of information on all things Southeast Asia, including Buddhism and Buddhist sculptures.

Back to the original question - Why are libraries such an important part of my life? Over the years, these five libraries – and others around the world – have enabled me to pursue a 30-year career with a multinational corporation, living and working in 10 countries. Libraries also allowed me to pursue a parallel career as an author in which I have published 25 books and monographs, 34 chapters in books edited by others, and more than 350 articles and reviews. Libraries matter.

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Poets In The Libraries (Posted: 03/12/2021)

Poets in the Library

This new series is hosted by Albuquerque Poet Laureate Mary Oishi. Each of Albuquerque’s 18 public libraries will be featured with readings by community poets who live in the surrounding neighborhoods. Library staff will also talk about the history and features of each library.

Ernie Pyle, Lomas Tramway and South Valley Libraries have the first 3 videos in the series. At the page, you will find a listing of wonderful books for kids, teens and adults to inspire poetic inclinations, including links to the library catalog.

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A Letter from Julia Clarke, President APLF (Posted: 02/10/2021)

Julia Clarke

Dear Library Supporters,

Librarians work every day to make a difference in our community. The Albuquerque Public Library Foundation is delighted to support the staff as they transform our community by bringing resources, stories, ideas and possibilities to life. Be sure to read the delightful profile of the Ernie Pyle Library in this issue of Bookish. It’s true – wonderful things really do come in small packages.

We just learned that a generous donor is matching all donations to the Library Giving Day campaign, which is on April 7 this year. All gifts, large and small, will be matched! $25 becomes $50. $500 grows to $1,000. Just imagine the possibilities for doing Good!

While spending some time on the library’s website, I found two new offerings of interest to me. One is the Culinary Arts database that looks interesting for home cooks as well as food industry professionals. Also, the U.S. Major Dailies database that provides access to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. I encourage you to explore the library website. There are a multitude of free on-line resources available to you!

We are counting the days until April 6 when Albuquerque native Kirstin Valdez Quade will discuss her newest book The Five Wounds for the next “A Word with Writers,” a virtual event in partnership with Bookworks. Buy your tickets here!

We value our readers and appreciate your continued support for our public libraries.

Supporting our Future Together,

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International District Library BUZZ (Posted: 02/10/2021)

International District Library

Are you looking for a short in-town drive? Do you have kids or grandkids who love Legos and construction equipment? Head up Central Avenue traveling East. About a block past the Louisana intersection on the north side of Central, you will be able to see the massive crane used to construct the inner steel structure of our magnificent new International District Library. It’s all taking shape.

The construction site is at 7605 Central NE. It’s exciting to see this 21st century library being born. This is the largest investment in this area for almost 50 years. Dean Smith, Director of our Public Library System announced earlier this month to the Library Advisory Board that construction is on time, on budget and due to open late 2021. We can’t wait!

8 short months ago, Mayor Keller hosted the groundbreaking ceremony. The old Caravan East has been taken down and ground scraped bare to begin construction. Show the kids where it started and where things are now. Join us as we watch the future take shape right before our eyes. Stay tuned!

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Ernie Pyle Library (Posted: 02/10/2021)

Ernie Pyle Library

900 Girard Avenue
Surrounded by the neighborhoods of
Victory Hills, Nob Hill, Ridgecrest and parts of the UNM North Campus


Safe. Familiar. Protected. The home at the corner of Girard and Santa Monica was built in 1941 by Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Ernie Pyle and his wife, Jerry. Having chosen Albuquerque to settle in after decades of traveling the world together while Ernie worked as roving reporter, they built their small home looking to the future after the end of World War II. Alas, it was not to be. One month before the end of WWII, Ernie was killed by a sniper on the island of le Shima, Japan in May, 1945. Jerry followed him just months later, succumbing to influenza.

It was Ernie and Jerry’s wish that their home become a library for Albuquerque. Erna Fergusson, after whom the Erna Fergusson Library is named, and the Friends of the Public Library helped that wish become a reality in 1948. In 2006, the house was designated a National Historic Landmark. The Ernie Pyle Collection of original documents and papers is available through our Special Collections Library.

Ernie and Jerry would be so proud that their gift to the City of Albuquerque continues. Although the house is an active library, its appearance as a home has been carefully preserved. Both the interior room layout and the landscaping, even the picket fence built by Ernie for Jerry and the grave marker of their dog, Cheetah, have been lovingly preserved.


Waving to me through the window by her desk, Lizzie Peacock, Site Supervisor, opened the side door to her office, which was at one time the garage and later the guest room with a teeny tiny bathroom. Of course, Lizzie Peacock had a peacock on her mask. With a name like that, I was instantly convinced she could be a character from the pages of Harry Potter. Lizzie loves her library and all those who enter. She speaks of them as family and misses the daily 3:30 pm city bus dropping kids off from school to meet their parents and visit with other neighborhood kids who are home-schooled. She’s looking forward to the future when the kids will return to fill the yard with laughter, shouting and lots of hugs. Remember those?

Well-worn and creaking hardwood floors speak of the 73 years this home has faithfully served the surrounding neighborhoods. It’s a treasure of a house filled with books and love. It’s apparent in every room. Even the closets have floor to ceiling shelves for everything from books to DVDs. There is not an inch of unused space and it is a Home for Book Lovers.

Before the pandemic, many programs were held outside under the sheltering shade of old trees. Lizzie and capable staff will return there to hold music and movement classes along with story time. One special addition to story time at Ernie Pyle is the sign language that Lizzie teaches the children that corresponds to the theme of the week. The “Hello” and “Goodbye” songs are a big hit. Lizzie speaks fondly of the library patrons how” absolutely love this library” and how fiercely attached they are. “It’s a small-town library in the middle of a big city. For me, it’s a perfect fit.”

The staff at Ernie Pyle have developed “grab and go” book bundles for children during the pandemic. A quick in and out with 3 fiction and 1 nonfiction book centered around specific topics, such as feelings, colors, numbers, bears. They don’t have to look, just a quick in and out with a touch of surprise. The library is so tiny and only one or two people at most are allowed in at a time for 15 minutes. Library patrons utilize holds “like nobody’s business. Even the kids put things on hold!”

As I left, a young mother was navigating the red wagon that carried her young son with both legs in a cast after corrective surgery. The little boy laughed when I told him how brave he was. When asked mom how she was you could hear the weary determination in her voice. They had walked to the library and it was their special outing for the day. Walking down the old driveway to my car, I was hailed by a woman leaving the library telling me she was done and did I want to come in. The mother and child were next in line and they happily moved up. There’s just something about a library that brings people together in kindness and generosity of spirit.

Joining Lizzie Peacock are two more vital staff members. Lizzie describes them with great enthusiasm.

Debbie Maestas is the newest addition to our Ernie Pyle Family. She is incredibly positive and friendly,and brings a wealth of library knowledge and creativity to our branch. She especially enjoys working with our emerging readers helping them find just the right books. She has also adapted the Grab & Go theme picture book bundles to fit the needs of our neighborhood and our patrons absolutely love them!

Jen Vossen’s years as shelver and now library assistant here at the Ernie Pyle library have made her an asset to both staff and our patrons, she keeps the library looking beautiful and organized! Extensive knowledge of the collection combined with her energetic and lively demeanor make her the perfect fit and a joy to work with.

I highly recommend making your visit to this historic treasure tucked away in the Victory Hills neighborhood. Small is truly beautiful. Next month, I’ll be visiting the Lomas Tramway Library. I’ve never been there before and I’m excited to discover this part of Albuquerque.

Regards, Amy Henne

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What We (Still) Are Reading! (Posted: 02/10/2021)

Palaces for the People

Palaces For The People by Eric Klinenberg is a love letter to public libraries everywhere. Seen as fundamental and foundational to civic engagement in a democracy, public libraries offer not only shared spaces but shared values of respect, engagement and equal access to all. Public libraries strengthen neighborhoods and support intellectual and economic health.

This month, we share a selection of talks by Eric Klinenberg about his book. The first is from the Toronto Public Library, entitled On Civil Society. The second is from The Gov Lab, entitled Social Structure and Civic Life. We hope you enjoy listening!

And if your interest is piqued, check for book availability here.

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Lists. Lists. Lists. What did Albuquerque read in 2020? (Posted: 02/10/2021)

What were our most popular checkouts? 2020 was an unusual year for us with multiple closures. Our lists of checkouts for items like print books, CDs, and DVDs were all affected. Here’s the year’s most popular items reflected to the best of our abilities.

Here’s a list of the most popular books, e-books and audio books borrowed from Public Library ABQ-BernCo in 2020. The pandemic has helped turn 2020 into a record year for digital lending through our Public Library system. How many have you read?

Top digital books by genre in 2020:

  • Adult fiction: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen
  • Adult nonfiction: Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Young adult fiction: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Young adult nonfiction: Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic: A Comedian’s Guide to Life on the Spectrum by Michael McCreary
  • Children’s fiction: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

5 most popular e-books in 2020:

  1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  2. Educated: a Memoir by Tara Westover
  3. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  4. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
  5. The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes

5 most popular audio books in 2020:

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
  2. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  3. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  4. Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell
  5. Educated: a Memoir by Tara Westover

Many thanks to Eileen O’Connell, former Branch Manager at Special Collections, now Digital and Material Support Service Manager for our library system, for developing this list.

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What We’re Reading Now (Posted: 01/12/2021)

Palaces for the People

Palaces for The People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life
Author: Eric Klinenberg

5 copies available through our Library – check the catalog

Should you be thinking about how our country and civil society moves forward in the years ahead, you might consider reading this insightful book. For those of you seeking a solid way forward to heal divisions in our country, it is a must read.

Klinenberg defines social infrastructure as “the physical places and organizations that shape the way people interact.” From neighborhood bodegas, beauty and barber shops, to schools, playgrounds, parks and the public library - ALL are building blocks of public life. He believes “the library is among the most critical forms of social infrastructure we have.”

In the coming months, we will share more of this vision for strengthening the visibility of our public library system and the role the library plays in continuing to bring health to our community.

Eric Klinenberg is the Helen Gould Shepard Professor in the Social Sciences and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. He is the coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestseller Modern Romance: an Investigation, and author of the acclaimed books Going Solo, Heat Wave, and Fighting for Air. He has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Wired, and This American Life.

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New Year Reflections from Julia Clarke, President APLF (Posted: 01/12/2021)

Julia Clarke

Dear Library Supporters,

Happy New Year! How wonderful to write those words after the many challenges of 2020. I am filled with hope and anticipation as we begin this New Year together.

Ten years ago, a small group of former Library Advisory Board members and one faithful library retiree gathered to take the first steps to form what now is the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation (APLF). Our 501c3 organization launched in April, 2013 with the sole purpose of raising funds to enrich library programs, services and activities throughout our 18 and soon to be 19 libraries with the completion of the International District Library in late 2021.

Our public libraries are a fundamental institution in the social infrastructure of our democracy. I highly recommend reading Eric Klinenberg’s Palaces for the People to more comprehensively understand the role the public library plays in building and strengthening our community. Described by Andrew Carnegie as "palaces for the people," public libraries welcome everyone.

This year, APLF is focusing on raising $150,000 for the Children’s Room at the International District Library. In addition to our end of year Annual Appeal, the Foundation will be participating in the April 7 National Library Giving Day campaign. All funds raised will be targeted to the Children’s Room at International District Library. Your gifts, small and large, will accomplish this.

With your continued support, the future of our public library system will continue evolving and responding to the needs of each neighborhood, our larger community and the customers we serve. Thank you for joining us on this journey!

Kind regards, Julia Clarke

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Welcoming Our Newest Board Member (Posted: 01/12/2021)

Amy Henne

The APLF Board is pleased to welcome Amy Henne as our newest Board Member. Currently finishing her second term on the Library Advisory Board, Amy is deeply committed to strengthening library support in our diverse community. Some of you may remember her from her shop, Lavande Bleu, in Historic Nob Hill where she also served as President of the Nob Hill Business Association.

Along with her entrepreneurial talents, Amy brings a wealth of professional marketing and communications expertise along with experience in state and federal government. Prior to joining the APLF Board, Amy served as President of the Bel Air Neighborhood Association and as a docent for Casa San Ysidro, part of the Albuquerque Museum. Please join us in welcoming her.

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San Pedro Library (Posted: 01/12/2021)

San Pedro Library

San Pedro Library @ corner of San Pedro and Trumbull
International District - Opened 1967
Bounded by Lomas, Gibson, Wyoming & San Mateo

Serving the neighborhoods of Elder Homestead, Fair West, La Mesa, Siesta Hills and South San Pedro. More than 28 languages, including English, are spoken throughout the area.

On a very cold winter morning, Florence Sablan, San Pedro’s Branch Manager, greeted me at the door with her kind, smiling eyes and a warm welcome. I was immediately reminded that a library may begin with a building and a collection, but the soul of a library is found in the people who are inside. Patrons and staff are what give life to the library. The staff at San Pedro keeps the light burning through these difficult times of closures and limited services.

The International District’s neighborhoods are known as some of the most diverse communities in Albuquerque and in New Mexico. From decades-long residents and homeowners to those newest to Albuquerque, customers come from a wide range of economic circumstances and backgrounds.

Problem-solving and personal service continue throughout the pandemic. Library staff often find themselves addressing community needs beyond that of library resources - caring for the needs of each individual. Florence shared this story:

“A customer came in with her two children and was being helped at the front desk when she collapsed. 911 was called. As staff and the older child were caring for the mother, another staff member noticed how distraught the younger child was and gave him a new stuffed bear, recently donated by the Inez Neighborhood Association. 911 soon arrived and all staff were grateful for the positive outcome. The mother called later to thank everyone for the care shown to her and her children.”

The pandemic and resulting library closure highlight the digital divide and the critical role libraries play in serving patrons with limited or no computer or internet access. Library users still need to apply for jobs, housing, birth certificates and other forms of identification and the library is able to help. The team at San Pedro continue to meet each need as best they are able. Customers who need tax forms have been able to get them printed by library staff who have also copied pay stubs to send for unemployment benefits. As Florence says, “We’re not in the business of saying no.”

To Florence and her team, it’s about respect for each person walking through the doors. Here’s what she shared: “I work with intelligent, committed and caring librarians, who often go above and beyond to help our patrons. Our branch is known for friendly and helpful staff. Here’s a little something about each of them."

Abby Hernandez is insanely creative and comes up with the best displays. Bilingual in Spanish, Abby is a huge help and comfort to the Spanish speakers who come to the library.

Leslie Fox patiently helps patrons with tough reference questions and setting up their devices and troubleshooting eBooks.

Lin McNickle wears hats every day. Patrons look for the hat lady for advice about what to read or watch next. The is also known as the lady who sings and plays guitar during story times.

Toni-Lynn Hart applies her years of experience to each customer interaction and her knowledge is invaluable.

As we all move through the continued unknowns of this pandemic, the San Pedro Library will continue to serve and respond to the needs of this dynamic community. Stop in and say hello!

Albuquerque Library patrons