Established in 1969, the Friends of the Public Library is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that supports the Public Library Albuquerque and Bernalillo County by funding educational and literacy programs, such as the Summer Reading Program, staff development, and community outreach.
Our funding comes from monetary donations, membership dues, and proceeds from the Main Library Bookshop and book sales. Books and other media sold in the Bookshop and at the book sales come from generous donations.
Summer Reading Program
Young readers can lose an entire grade level over the summer. This program offers an engaging way for children and young adults to maintain and improve their reading skills. Learn more about this year’s program.
Adopt-a-BranchThe library receives $2,000, which is distributed among the branches to spend as they wish. The funds are often used for coffee, tissues, hand sanitizers, and other items useful to library staff and volunteers but not paid for by city or county funding.
AMP Concert SeriesNationally-known musical groups offer free daytime performances at libraries.
Speaker Series at Special CollectionsThe Friends fund promotional materials for the speaker series held at the Special Collections Library.
Día de los Niños
A multicultural celebration of children and literacy, Día de los Niños includes a variety of special events, including storytelling and music. Every child who attends can select a book to take home and keep.
Staff DevelopmentThe Friends fund fees and travel expenses so library staff may attend conferences.
Cultural Programming at the Branch LibrariesEvery week, a wide variety of arts and craft workshops (from seasonal yarn projects to graphic novels), story times, and movie screenings are offered at libraries.
Angela Mihm, President
Angela moved to Albuquerque in March 2019. Most recently, she lived in Seattle, WA working in a variety of capacities. Her experience includes managing the office and staff of a small law firm, conflict mediation, and working as a small business owner and massage therapist. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Chicago. Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, the public library branch only four blocks from her house quickly became a second home. Angela believes in the transformational power of reading to increase empathy, expand possibilities, and provide knowledge. Plus, it is fun.
Jessica Zech, Vice PresidentJessica is originally from Seattle and moved to Albuquerque in 2019, after her boyfriend accepted a position at the University of New Mexico. Since graduating from the University of Southern California, she has worked in marketing as a copywriter and campaign manager—and currently plans product promotions for a technology company. Jessica has always been an avid reader and library lover. She is excited to be part of an organization that helps make books and educational materials available to everyone.
Mary Orgel, Secretary
Mary is a longtime resident of Albuquerque, moving here in 1974 to begin a career in counseling. She has since then received advanced degrees in Cultural Anthropology (University of Massachusetts). The common thread of her professional work and personal interests has been understanding and promoting our sense of community. Her small-town Midwestern upbringing influenced her belief that public libraries are one of our most important sites of community. She sees The Friends of the Public Library as a great resource for creating and protecting a community of readers and books and the many ways they keep us open to diverse worlds and endless possibilities of connection.
Sara Elliott, TreasurerSara is Certified Public Accountant at the firm Baca & Howard, PC. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Fort Lewis College and a Master’s in Education from Northern Arizona University. Prior to her work as an accountant Sara worked in higher education. Sara and her husband moved to Albuquerque 13 years ago and started their family. Sara is an avid reader (when it isn’t tax season). Her family loves to travel and she finds herself involved in new hobbies/projects based on the whims and interests of her two sons.
Bill Noel, Director At LargeBill has been collecting books since elementary school, inspired by his grandfather's personal library of over 4,000 volumes. After earning an engineering degree in Ohio, he moved to Albuquerque in 1983 to work at Sandia National Laboratories and has spent most of his career designing and building spacecraft systems. Bill has been a customer since the annual book sales in The Pit and a Friends volunteer for over 10 years. Bill and his wife, Meralyn, can be found at the Main Library most Friday mornings, doing the initial sort of incoming donations.
Dean Smith, Director At Large
Dean started with the Public Library, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, in 2008 as an Assistant Director and has been Library Director since 2011. Dean got his Master’s in Library Science from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He has worked with The New York Public Library, first as a children’s librarian and then as a regional manager of Manhattan’s West Side, and as a Development Librarian at Southwark Council Libraries in London, England.
Melissa Carlisle, Administrative CoordinatorAs the sole employee of the friends since 2001, Melissa coordinates the book sales and bookshop, overseeing a team of over 60 volunteers who make it all possible. The daughter of writers, and ardent library users, she learned the importance of libraries at an early age. Ever since her first work-study job at UNM’s Zimmerman Library she has found herself most at home when surrounded by books.
Meetings are every other month in the evening.
If you're interested, email president@friendsofthepubliclibrary.
The Friends work closely with The Albuquerque Public Library Foundation and the Library Advisor Board.
See what they're all about!
Read quarterly updates from the Friends' board with the latest news and events.