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NM Residents and the Public

About Services for Library Users

The New Mexico State Library provides services to citizens throughout the State of New Mexico. These services are provided directly to library customers who visit the State Library and indirectly to library patrons through their local public libraries.

Direct Services

The Rural Bookmobile Program supplies four “libraries on wheels” that travel to small, rural communities in New Mexico. This unique program allows the State Library to provide a service for New Mexicans in the most remote places of our state. The program provides full library service in the form of materials lending, interlibrary loan and reference, as well as library programs like summer reading for children. There are over 10,000 registered users of the NMSL Rural Bookmobile Program.

The Books by Mail Program is a mail order service available to New Mexicans who live in rural areas that are not served by the bookmobiles. The service may also be used by anyone who is home bound due to a physical disability and has no other source of library service.

The Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is responsible for meeting the reading and information needs of New Mexico citizens who are blind, visually impaired, physically handicapped, or reading disabled. These needs are met by providing books, magazines, and other material in alternate format (cassette, Braille, and electronic text), playback equipment, and some production of print materials in alternative media. The collection contains more than 44,000 titles and 290,000 volumes on a wide variety of subjects.

The Collections contain materials on a wide variety of topics such as New Mexico history,culture, genealogy, natural resources, government, and statistics. These materials may be searched in our online catalog, SALSA. Visitors to the State Library may check out some of these materials, many of the resources must be used in the library. New Mexicans in other parts of the state may borrow circulating materials through their public library's interlibrary loan service.

The Reference collection provides a comprehensive information resource, covering a wide array of topics. It is available for use in the library only. Reference librarians are available to assist people who visit the library, as well as those who can not visit the library, telephone us at (505)476-9702, or ask questions by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The Foundation Center collection provides books, journals, and databases designed to guide grant writers to potential sources of private and public funding. The collection also includes how-to guides on grant writing, as well as non-profit management. 

The State Publications collection contains both current and historical information published by New Mexico state government agencies and the state legislature.  The collection is a rich resource for research into New Mexico's past and present.

The Federal Publications collection contains both current and historical documents distributed by the U.S. government, including numerous electronic documents, Federal web sites and databases. This collection contains census data, maps, Congressional and tribal materials, national forest and park materials, and numerous other items dating from the late 1700's to the present.

The Census collections at the State Library contains statistical reports released by the U.S. Census Bureau from 1790 to the present. State Library Reference staff is trained to assist library users in the navigation of the Census Bureau web site, as well as in the location of statistical information in historical documents.

The Southwest Collection contains materials published by the general, academic and small presses, it supports research in state history, geography, culture, ethnology, and economic and political development, in balance with the State and Federal Documents Collections of the State Library, and the New Mexico State Archives, within a single facility.

Services to New Mexico Library Users via Local Public Libraries

The Interlibrary Reference Service answers reference questions from libraries across the state. The Interlibrary Reference service is designed to help all New Mexico libraries best serve their own patrons.  State Library reference librarians draw on our various collections and databases to provide assistance and answers.

The Interlibrary Loan staff at the State Library process interlibrary borrowing requests for public libraries in New Mexico that do not have items requested by their patrons in their local collections and which do not have access to the online interlibrary loan networks. Once the State Library finds the requested item and borrows it, it is sent along to the public library which then passes the item on to the patron who made the original request.

The statewide license to the El Portal research databases is made available to all citizens of New Mexico in an effort to bring reliable electronic information resources to as many people throughout the state as possible. El Portal is the gateway to the collection of magazines, journals, reference sources, and newspapers.  El Portal is available to you from your home, your public library, your local community college or university library, and from all school libraries in New Mexico.