From the New Mexico Library Foundation:
The New Mexico Library Foundation announces release of the 2016 New Mexico Libraries Assessment. Commissioned earlier this year, this comprehensive report examines the current state of New Mexico’s public, tribal, school, academic and special libraries.
Key findings of the assessment include the following:
- New Mexico’s library landscape is unique, rich and diverse. Reflecting the state’s remarkable geography, history and demographics, New Mexico’s libraries are a priceless asset.
- Adequate funding is a critical issue for virtually all New Mexico libraries, because the existing funding mechanisms do not generate enough support. Although New Mexico libraries benefit from an array of funding streams, all have challenges and collectively they do not provide what is needed for libraries of all types to thrive.
- 88% of New Mexico libraries reported shrinking or flat budgets in the last three years, and 92% say their expenses have increased or stayed the same. Each year inflation eats away at library budgets, making it difficult for libraries to avoid cutting services.
- 89% of New Mexico libraries reported challenges in providing relevant, high quality collections, 87% reported having inadequate staffing and 95% reported having one or more facilities-related challenges.
- Libraries strive to bridge the digital divide and keep up with advancing technology, but are held back by lack of broadband access, outdated hardware and limited electronic resources. 40% of New Mexico libraries reported they do not offer broadband Internet service and only 7% reported having no technology issues at their libraries.
Despite the many challenges they face, New Mexico libraries can take pride in their many achievements. In the last five years, a significant number of New Mexico libraries have added new services such as makerspaces, support for job seekers, computer literacy training and library programs. 96% of all libraries reported that their services support student success, 86% reported supporting lifelong learning and 64% reported their library preserves resources and cultural assets.
Conducted by national library consultant Penny Hummel, the assessment included a statewide library survey, as well as focus groups and public community conversations held in several locations across the state. 269 New Mexico libraries participated in the survey, which included 67% of New Mexico’s academic libraries and 84% of its public and tribal libraries, as well as librarians representing 19 school districts and 12 special libraries. With the exception of Catron, Harding and Mora counties, all New Mexico counties were represented by at least one library in the survey.
Direct to Full Text Assessment (69 pages; PDF)