On Sunday, April 24, 2022 at 2 p.m., Librarian Teresa La Chance will provide an in-person tour of the New Mexico Veterans Memorial Library. The process and accomplishments of organizing and cataloguing the wealth of military history information will be presented. The tour of the library will include the main floor, the Special Collections shelves, and the material downstairs. A history of the Memorial will be included in the briefing, as well as an explanation of the scope of the public and private events conducted on the premises. The tour will conclude with a statement on future plans for the Memorial and areas in which help is needed.
The library is located at the City of Albuquerque New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial, Museum & Conference Center at 1100 Louisiana SE. A brief Albuquerque Historical Society Annual Meeting and Election of Officers will occur prior to the tour.
New Mexico Veterans Memorial Colonel Gil Martinez Memorial Library
Unbeknownst to many in the great city of Albuquerque, there is a quiet little gem housed in the Visitors Center at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial, near the corner of Louisiana and Gibson Boulevards. Since the Memorial was first dedicated in 1995, the military history library’s collection has grown tremendously largely due to donations from veterans and their family members whose desires were to put the material to use. From an initial setup of a few dozen books to an inventory of approximately 6,000 books, periodicals, DVDs, and VHS tapes, the collection is now ready to take a giant leap forward in an endeavor to reach out to our local scholars and students, and perhaps, even seek an academic sponsor for further collaboration.
This library is organized into 41 categories, ranging from subjects such as American History to the Cold War to Leadership to Prisoners of War and to the War on Terror. The largest two categories are World War II with over 1000 books, pamphlets, scrapbooks, magazines, reference material and more; and Biography with approximately 880 books. 306 volumes, outside of Special Collections, pertain to studies on the U.S. Civil War. There are over 250 works relating to the Vietnam War.
One of the highlights is the historic Special Collections located on the main floor and in the basement. A unique cabinet has been constructed to showcase some of the more precious books dating back to the 1860s, including some that concern the American Civil War. An additional source of pride is an aggregation of World War II unit histories, amounting to about 50, many of which were published during the War. A circular mahogany table in the library holds all the Medal of Honor books, with more supporting material shelved in cabinets downstairs. The library has been graced with an inventory of almost 300 autographed books.
Another treasure for history hunters and teachers is the Oral History collection, consisting of approximately 600 cassette and CD recordings of interviews conducted with veterans who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The library, per se, is located on the first floor of the Visitors Center; the overflow bulk of our material is shelved in the basement
Teresa La Chance, Librarian, New Mexico Veterans Memorial, retired from the United States Air Force in 1995 at the rank of Major. She comes from a military family as her four immediate family members worked for and with the United States Army for many years. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in History from New Mexico State University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Troy State University. Other academic/professional certifications come from completing Squadron Officer School and Air Command and Staff College while on active duty. Her positions in the Air Force were in the administration and contract management career fields.
Post-Air Force jobs include teaching history at Santa Fe High School, teaching Adult Basic Education and computer literacy classes at Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute and substitute teaching for both the Albuquerque Public School System and the Santa Fe Public School System. She worked as a literacy volunteer for Read West in Rio Rancho with the Volunteer-in-Service-to-America (VISTA) program and also served as the Assistant Manager of Field Operations for the U.S. Census Bureau – Albuquerque office. Teresa started volunteering at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial in the summer of 2016; a few months later she was elected to the Board of Directors and still serves as its Secretary.