ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Mayor Tim Keller and Albuquerque officials broke ground Thursday on the International District Library. The library will sit at the former site of the Caravan East Nightclub.

This will be the 19 library branch of the Public Library and the newest branch since the opening of the Central and Unser location. “This project is the culmination of years of work from neighborhood leaders who never gave up on the vision that their families deserve a library too,” said Mayor Tim Keller Thursday. “It was my honor to fight by their side as State Senator for the International District, and now to finally break ground on this project that will mean so much to the area. This library will bring people together, form community, provide access to resources, and support our kids. In our city, historic Route 66 will be ‘bookended’ by libraries.”

City Council President Pat Davis, Bernalillo County Commissioner James Collie, State Senator Mimi Stewart, Representatives Sheryl Williams Stapleton and Debra Sariñana, and Bernalillo County Treasurer Nancy Bearce also spoke at the event. Albuquerque Poet Laureate Michelle Otero recited a poem she wrote for the ground breaking.

According to officials, more than 100 community leaders and members provided input during the planning phase of the library through a series of town hall meetings. The approximately $15.5 million project is funded by a combination of City General Obligation Bonds, State Capital Outlay, and a generous donation of $1 million from the Freedman Trust.

Also, in recognition of the 40-year history of the Caravan East night club, the community room will have a wood floor that can be used for dance demonstrations. The 25,000 square foot building, designed by RMKM Architects, will also have a classroom for all ages.

The International District Library will be home to the Library system’s world language collections and will have a dedicated international section. Other features include:

  • An Early Literacy Center to encourage interactive play that helps develop basic literacy in young children.
  • A Children’s Activity Room for programs such as story time, Music and Movement, and Read to the Dogs.
  • A fireplace as the centerpiece of the adult area, making the library the International District “community living room.”
  • A tower garden demonstrating growing simple vegetables for programs on nutrition and health for all ages.
  • A Story Plaza for outdoor gatherings and displays of art and poetry by the community.
  • A large interlaced monitor for displaying video art and community projects.