This story is a staff report from The Paper.

Community leaders opened the doors to the International District Library during a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week after more than a decade of advocacy and seven years after the opening of the Central and Unser branch. The approximately $16.5 million project was funded by a combination of City General Obligation Bonds, State Capital Outlay, Bernalillo County Bonds, donations from the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation, and a $1 million donation from the Freedman Trust.

“This is a decades-long investment in the International District. The neighborhood that serves as the home for so many first-generation immigrants and small entrepreneurs finally has a hub for the language services, access to technology, and after-school programs based on neighborhood input for neighborhood success across every generation,” said Councilor Pat Davis.

“The International District Library is a center that is so important to our communities. It is not only a place that you can get right off a bus line to access education and internet and the tools that you need to survive and thrive, but it is also a place where we will definitely prioritize the preservation and advancement of our local cultures and histories. I’m excited for what that means for our International District,” said Commissioner Adrienne Barboa.

The International District Library will be home to the Library system’s world languages collections. Other features include:

• Two Tower Gardens will be used for programs on gardening and nutrition for all ages.

• Two virtual reality computer systems will be the first in the Library system, used for programs for all ages, and are provided by funding from the Albuquerque Community Foundation.

• A Story Plaza for outdoor gatherings and displays of art and poetry by the community.

Credit: Michelle Dillon/Stone Crow Photography

• A large interlaced monitor for displaying video art and community projects.

The library is built for sustainability with saturated and natural daylight from skylights and clerestory windows so minimal artificial light will be required during the day; a closed loop heat pump system requiring no gas and minimal electricity to operate; and is equipped to support solar panels that will be installed later to bring use of electricity to minimal or even negative use.

The International District Library is located at 7601 Central Ave. NE. Visit https://abqlibrary.org

*City Councilor Pat Davis is co-owner of The Paper.