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Libraries as Launchpads

New Mexico State Library, Creative Startups & Fab Lab Hub Announce: Libraries as Launchpads, An Economic Initiative


The New Mexico State Library, Creative Startups, a growing international business accelerator based in Santa Fe, Fab Lab Hub, a technology product prototyping provider, and the newly-formed New Mexico State Library Foundation have joined together in an innovative partnership to utilize public libraries as economic development centers for entrepreneurial and business training. Libraries as Launchpads will fast track potential entrepreneurs from idea and concept to action and business formation. The program kicks-off on February 15 at five pilot libraries: Zuni, South Albuquerque, Santa Fe’s Southside branch, Raton and Las Cruces.

Focused on underserved and rural populations throughout New Mexico, Libraries as Launchpads represents a natural progression from the State Library’s nationally-acclaimed NM MakerState Initiative, which brought makerspace technologies to local libraries for STEM learning. Department of Cultural Affairs Deputy Cabinet Secretary, Michael Delello said, “It is now time to utilize libraries as economic development centers, and we are thrilled to partner with Creative Startups and Fab Lab Santa Fe in this effort.” 

Going forward, the partnership plans to offer Libraries as Launchpads at 20 libraries in 2019 and is laying the groundwork for the expansion with this pilot. The team is working with libraries to identify regional entrepreneurship educators, community partners, and maker spaces that can support the project.


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MPLA Carl Gaumer award to go to Mike Delello

New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs Deputy Secretary Mike Delello is the recipient of the Mountain Plains Library Association’s (MPLA) Carl Gaumer Library Champion Award for his service as Acting State Librarian and continued service to the library community. 

The Carl Gaumer Library Champion Award is to be given to an individual, organization or company whose positive support of the Mountain Plains Library Association is demonstrated by repeated conscientious endeavors towards libraries, library staff, trustees, and professional activities.  Deputy Secretary Delello won the award for his innovative accomplishments and staunch library advocacy while serving as Interim State Librarian during 2014 -2015 and his continued work with libraries state-wide as the Deputy Cabinet Secretary.

During his active tenure as interim State Librarian, Delello visited many public and tribal libraries to talk to the library staff and find out what their needs were. He initiated statewide licensing for New Mexico students and job seekers to the online tutoring service Brainfuse, with both HelpNow for homework assistance and JobNow providing help to those seeking employment providing much needed assistance to overly burdened librarians. Delello was also instrumental in the Maker-State initiative, an Institute for Museum and Library Sciences and nationally recognized program through the innovative maker space pop-up program for libraries. Delello also provided a key partnership between the state museums and public libraries statewide by creating the Department of Cultural Affairs Family Pass, which allows library patrons to check out this pass for free admission to the state’s eight museums and Historic Sites. Delello’s support was instrumental in working with a statewide panel of librarians and stakeholders to produce a statewide assessment of New Mexico’s libraries.

“The New Mexico Library Association congratulates Mike Delello for this award recognizing his ongoing support of all New Mexico’s Public and Tribal Libraries,” stated Lynette Schurdevin, Rio Rancho Library Director and President of the New Mexico Library Association.  “With the Deputy Secretary’s help libraries now offer additional resources for patrons including job research, student homework help, and maker space programs. “

“Mike’s commitment to Libraries Transform New Mexico has given direction to all our state’s libraries to focus on three principal areas to increase library services to our communities by expanding broadband/e-rate services, ensuring sustainable government funding and locating alternative funding sources. “

Delello also served as co-chair of Libraries Transform New Mexico, a conference based upon the assessment. Delello was instrumental in the establishment of the State Library of New Mexico Foundation, and serves as co-chair of the New Mexico Libraries Transform steering committee.

“I am so deeply honored to be receiving this award,” Delello said. “Libraries are more than just book repositories.  They serve as quasi social service agencies assisting patrons with e-government service, digital literacy, and resume development just to name a few.

“I have rarely encountered public servants as dedicated to their communities as public and tribal librarians. I humbly dedicate this award to Wanda Walters and Kristina “Krissie” Carter, staff at the Clovis Library, Clovis, NM, who lost their lives while serving patrons in a tragic shooting this past August.”

The Carl Gaumer Library Champion Award will be presented to Deputy Secretary Delello at noon October 18 at the Hardrock Hotel, Stateline Nevada.

Letters About Literature 2018

The Letters About Literature awards ceremony took place on Friday, May 4 in the rotunda of the Round House in Santa Fe. Chief of Public Services at the New Mexico State Library, Lori Smith Thornton, welcomed everyone and awards were then presented by Department of Cultural Affairs Deputy Secretary, Michael Delello, to the three New Mexico state champions who read their letters aloud, the three second place winners, the three third place winners, and the honorable mention letter writers.

Kaelyn Siefkes, a fifth grade student at Estancia Valley Classical Academy in Moriarty, is the Level 1 champion.  Kaelyn wrote her letter to Rachel Renee Russel about her series, The Dork Diaries.

Allie Vice, a seventh grade student at Eisenhower Middle School in Albuquerque, is the Level 2 champion. Her letter is addressed to Out of My Mind author, Sharon M. Draper.

Steffen Ortiz, a tenth grade student at East Mountain High School in Sandia, is the Level 3 champion. Steffen wrote his letter to Markus Zusak about his book, The Book Thief.

Each of the state champions received a certificate acknowledging their achievement and $150 from the State Library. The second place letter writers also received a certificate acknowledging their achievement and $75 from the State Library.  The third place writers received a certificate and a $50 gift card for Collected Works Bookstore; and the honorable mention writers also received a certificate and a $25 gift card for Collected Works Bookstore.  The three New Mexico champions' letters were sent to the Library of Congress for the national competition. The winners of the national competition will be announced in mid-May.

Five hundred and nineteen New Mexico students entered the 2018 contest.  Of those 519 entries, 45 writers advanced to round two.  In Level 1, there were 230 entries with 10 letters advancing to round two state judging.  In Level 2, there were 154 entries with 17 letters advancing to round two state judging. In Level 3, there were 135 entries with 18 letters moving on to round two state judging.  All of the state finalist writers who advanced to round two received an award certificate in the mail. 

Our special thanks to the New Mexico judges:

Level 1 - Veronica N. Gonzales, Cabinet Secretary, New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, Santa Fe; Norice Lee, Associate Library Director, Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, Health Sciences Library, Las Cruces; Ben Wakashige, Retired State Librarian, Rio Rancho

Level 2 – Anne Price, Youth Services Manager, Octavia Fellin Public Library, Gallup; Malcolm Alonzo, Library Services Supervisor, The Public Library of Albuquerque and Bernalillo, Alamosa Branch; Deanne Dekle, Youth Services & Outreach Consultant, New Mexico State Library, Santa Fe

Level 3 – Susan Beck, Professor and Head of Access Services, New Mexico State University Library, Las Cruces; Craig L. Newbill, retired Director, New Mexico Humanities Council, Albuquerque; Sarah Stark, Author, Santa Fe

Letters About Literature encourages young readers in grades 4 -12 to read a book and write a personal letter to the author explaining how the book changed or shaped their perspective on themselves or the world. Students could write about works of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Letter writers compete at three levels: Level I is grades 4-6; Level II is grades 7-8; and Level III is grades 9-12. The writers compete in the state contest to win $150 cash prize per competition level and a $1,000 cash award per competition level in the national contest.  One winning letter from each level from each state is entered into the final national competition.

This is the sixth year New Mexico State Library has sponsored the competition.

For more information about New Mexico’s Letters About Literature contest, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Lori Thornton at 505-476-9717.

To read about the Letters About Literature contest at the national level, please click here:

Thank you to all the students, teachers, librarians, and families who participated in New Mexico's Letters About Literature program. Keep reading and writing!

Letters About Literature, the annual writing contest for young readers is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries, and other organizations.  In New Mexico, the contest is sponsored by the New Mexico State Library, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs.

SALSA Consortium Executive Committee Meeting

The Executive Committee of the SALSA Consortium will meet on Tuesday November 28, 2017 at 10:00 in the Conference Room, History and Literary Arts Building, National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th Street SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102.  Agenda is available from this link.

Foundation Center

        Funding Information Network                                                                    

The New Mexico State Library has received a certificate of recognition for 40 years of dedicated service in the Foundation Center Funding Information Network.  Since 1976, the State Library has been helping New Mexican grant seekers find the funders most likely to support them financially.  As a Funding Information Network partner, the State Library provides grant seekers access to the Foundation Directory Online, which is the world's leading grant prospect research resource.  Other Foundation Funding Information Network resources available in the Library to grant seekers are: Foundation Grants for Individuals Online, and Foundation Maps Professional database.

The State Library’s 40 year commitment to assisting grant seekers has made New Mexico a better place.

The Foundation Center Funding Information Network collection, located on the second floor of the New Mexico State Library, is open to the public from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, or by appointment.  Call 505-476-9702 or Ask-a Librarian.