University of New Mexico, Zimmerman Library – Albuquerque NM



The Public Works Administration funded the construction of the Zimmerman Library at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

The Zimmerman Library website describes the history of the New Deal structure: “Library collections continued to grow and in 1936 UNM James Fulton Zimmerman secured Public Works Administration funding for campus construction that included $370,000 for a new library building. The impressive facility was designed in the Pueblo Revival Style by John Gaw Meem. Miss Shelton turned the first shovelful of earth at the building site on December 2, 1936 and the new library was opened on April 1, 1938. As before, students, faculty, and Works Progress Administration workers carried books to the new building. The process took two weeks and filled four of the nine stack levels. The building was formally dedicated in June 1939 during UNM’s fiftieth anniversary celebration and named after president Zimmerman in 1961. The 1930’s brought additions to the library staff, including cataloger, reference, loan, periodicals, reserves and archivist librarians. By 1939 staff also included five WPA workers, thirty National Youth Administration students, and nine student assistants.”   (

Taos artist Kenneth Adams was selected by the university to receive the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) commission to paint images depicting “the three major peoples of New Mexico: Native Indians, Hispanics and Anglos.” The library construction costs exceeded the PWA grant, and the murals were ultimately paid for by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation.

Source notes

Bellmore, Audra, and Sever Bordeianu. "Youth, Science, and the Future: Three Sets of New Deal Era Murals at the University of New Mexico." Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America 32, no. 1 (2013): 71-86.

Project originally submitted by Evan Kalish on September 27, 2013.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Zimmerman Library
Albuquerque, NM 87106

Coordinates: 35.084974, -106.620868

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