At their core, libraries are community gathering spaces. And in a large, low-population state like New Mexico, with lots of rural communities, libraries play a vital role in literacy, education, and job skills training—along with the simple joy that comes from learning and being immersed in the numerous worlds that can be found within a book’s pages.  

There are 130 libraries across New Mexico, including 21 tribal libraries, and each library serves the specific needs of its own community. Many tribal libraries, such as the Santa Clara Pueblo’s library, maintain a community archive of historic photos, interviews, and oral histories that preserve the past and help restore the language.  

Like most of the libraries across New Mexico, youth programming plays an important role in helping kids become early readers through story time, summer reading challenges, and special events. Youth programming also provides databases for research, tutoring, and resources for homeschoolers.  

“I just enjoy working with the communities,” says Cassandra Osterloh, tribal libraries program coordinator at the New Mexico State Library. “It’s something that makes me happy to be able to go to work and be able to have those conversations and having just those different groups coming together.” 


New Mexico State Library 
Santa Clara Pueblo Community Library 
Aspen Song Kids 
Carnegie Library in Las Vegas 

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Encounter Culture, a production of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, is produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios. 
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