El Rito Library

182 Placitas Road
El Rito, NM 87530

Mission Statement

The El Rito Library furthers the aims of education for the public by serving as a portal through which individuals and families may obtain information, and acquire skills and experience for enlightenment, enjoyment and empowerment.


The El Rito Library opened in 1986 in a small room of a late 1930s-era adobe schoolhouse then occupied by Las Clinicas del Norte, a local health center. Andy R. Lopez helped start the Library in 1986 as part of an initiative by the El Rito Betterment Association. A Rio Arriba County Senior Citizen program occupied another room in the building.

After its founding in 1986, the library operated for several years on a volunteer basis, and was open only a few hours a week. Ten years later the library was still located in cramped quarters, but hours had expanded to 20 per week, and the one-person, part-time staff was now paid, thanks to a few essential grants from private foundations.

By the mid 1990s, the yearly operating budget hovered around $20,000, and by 1998, through meeting several stringent requirements, the library was accorded official status as a public library.

In 1999 Las Clinicas del Norte vacated the schoolhouse and occupied a new health center building nearby. this allowed the library to renovate the building and undertake a four-fold expansion in size. A capital-improvement grant from the New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps, supplemental funding from the Los Alamos Foundation, and an outpouring of volunteers and community donations made this possible.
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