The importance of El Pueblo de Abiquiu Library and Cultural Center extends far beyond the adobe walls of its century old 1400 square foot building. The mix of services it provides reflects the variety of cultural communities that share the famous landscapes of the Abiquiu area. It is the hub of many activities and is not just where history is stored, but where it is continually being made.
The land around the Center is the first land granted to Indians in NM of 17,000 acres which are held in common still since 1754. Merced del Pueblo Abiquiu has a governing board and membership of about 83 people. The classic adobe Santo Tomas Parish is directly across from the Center and world famous painter, Georgia O'keeffe had a home and studio nearby which is now run by the O’Keeffe Museum. Therefore, many visitors tour here while others travel here while following the Old Spanish Trail. The Continental Divide also attracts bicyclists here. Parishioners, genealogists, artists and many more visit in great numbers. The Center is also the home of the Berkeley Abiquiu Collaborative Archeology project that has been active in helping the community explore and understand its history and in continuing its unique cultural identity.
El Pueblo de Abiquiu Library and Cultural Center’s mission statement is: “to provide resources for residents and neighboring communities to educate youth and adults about this region’s history and culture; to maintain ways to communicate and interact, both as individuals and community; to develop educational programs and activities that assist in determining the most significant issues in our community; to recognize and respect other local, indigenous or faith-based organizations; to create partnerships with other political sub-divisions outside this community in order to better manage the effects of tourism and economic development projects; to protect our land and water rights base through an informed community.”
The Library and archive is located in the plaza of a Genizaro land grant community, and serves residents from many neighboring villages including a diverse population of Hispanic ranchers and farmers, workers who commute to Espanola or Los Alamos, artists, members of Dar El Islam community and others. The Center has designed programs to address the needs of the many low income residents. It is open five days a week, but even when it is closed it is used for early literacy, summer reading programs, read-a-thons, society meetings by other community groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, the Northern Youth Project, acequia and water boards, etc. It has served as a space where people have come together to incubate new groups and projects such as the Genizaro DNA project and much more.
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