Anderson Reading Room in Zimmerman Library

Library Collections

Libraries at UNM had a humble beginning in one room of the Main Building (now called Hodgin Hall) with the founding of the University in 1892. After three years, that initial one-room library had just over 500 volumes in its collection. Since then, the collections have been on a steady growth curve. In the past year, the University Libraries passed an important milestone. There are now over 3 million volumes in the collection, spread across 4 major library facilities.

The Zimmerman Library is one part of the University Libraries (UL), which also includes the Centennial Science & Engineering Library, the Fine Arts & Design Library, and the Parish Memorial Business & Economics Library. There are also separately administered libraries in the School of Law and the Health Sciences Center, along with several smaller departmental libraries. UNM is a member of the Association of Research Libraries, a membership organization of the largest research libraries in North America. The UL also serves as the regional depository of federal government publications for the state of New Mexico.

UNM is recognized nationally and internationally for the strength of its library collections about Latin America. The collections for anthropology, photography and the history of photography, Southwest and border studies, and Hispano/Chicano studies have also been historically strong. The holdings of New Mexico history, culture, government, and environment are, of course, a centerpiece of the library. The Center for Southwest Research (CSWR) holds many unique materials, from rare books and manuscripts to photographs, local history, organizational papers, and the UNM University Archives.

Books, magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals make up a substantial portion of the collections, but many other formats of information are included. Microforms, maps, DVDs, and posters are vital parts of the research and instructional process at UNM. Many parts of the collections are now available beyond the walls of any library in online digital formats. The acquisition of these materials accelerates with each year, now surpassing print and other tangible formats in terms of the number of titles available. A wide selection of ejournals, ebooks, digital music, and streaming video are available to all UNM students, faculty, and staff. The UL also leads the nation in developing processes to curate, store, and preserve research data created by UNM faculty and students and make it available to the world.

UNM collaborates with many libraries in the U.S. to expand the availability of information here in Albuquerque. A single library serving all the research needs of the University is no longer viable. Cooperative initiatives include interlibrary loan, cooperative purchase of electronic resources, and shared preservation and digitization projects. The idea of material being available in only one location, like that one-room library in 1892, is fast becoming a thing of the past.

This essay by Steven Harris is excerpted from the  Zimmerman 75th Anniversary Commemorative Book.

University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131