NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Libraries in small towns often rely on local support, donations, and grants to continue running, even though they offer many services to rural communities. New Mexico is stepping up to support these libraries by bolstering the Rural Libraries Endowment.

The endowment was first created by the New Mexico Legislature in 2019, with an initial investment of $1 million. This year, an additional $15 million has been allotted to the fund per the request of Department of Cultural Affairs Secretary Garcia y Griego. Now, the endowment is at a total of $28 million to support rural libraries in the state.

This funding will go toward helping libraries afford facility improvements, community programs, book purchases, and more. “The Department of Cultural Affairs understands and appreciates the priceless value that Rural Libraries provide as centers of rural communities,” says NMDCA Secretary Debra Garcia y Griego, “and we are thrilled that we can help ensure that everyone will be around for generations to come.”

Currently, New Mexico has 54 libraries that are eligible for Rural Library Program Grants. According to the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, eligible libraries must serve a population that is 3,000 people or less in size.