Today was the official re-opening of the Zimmerman Library public basement space since the fire that ravaged the reference section 2 years ago today. I was graduating with my B.A. in Linguistics that semester, and it was only by circumstance that my own research wasn't affected. Finding out about the fire shocked me, and made me uneasy in realizing that to some people, there is no sacredness in the idea and physical representation of institutions of higher learning.
Since that time we've noticed violent crime happen across campuses, my sad suspicions solidified that there are those out there for whom the pursuit of knowledge is not an activity to be at the very least respected, and that in reality held in a much higher regard. My own feelings on the subject must be abundantly clear by now. School is a place to feel safe, validated and nurtured. The hard work of students and faculty in pursuit of scientific and philosophical truths should be viewed as worthy and exceptional. Amazing stuff happens at the University of New Mexico on a constant basis. However, it's also a place chock full of human beings, all flawed and kind of weird.
On to merrier topics. The basement looks amazing! On entering I noticed the new computer monitors right away. Also, compact shelving was installed on all three levels of the basement. Having worked in the 3rd level sub-basement all year, I can say that they're a great system. It's important, I suppose, that out of a horrible event, the positive is overwhelmingly so. Forward progress must be appreciated where it happens. The ceremony was nice, the cake was delicious.
In addition, the library is now open earlier (7:30 am), and it looks like they're going to stay open later too. Overall, even though the fire was was a terrible incident, I'm excited and pleased to see the library invest in its own future. It's a valuable resource and a part of the university, the city and the state's history. Come check it out some time, and stop by to say hi!

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Tags: albuquerque, basement, fire, library, southwest, unm, zimmerman

Comment by chantal on May 1, 2008 at 8:27am
Great to read this update! Thanks for posting it.

For those new to Albuquerque or just plain curious, here's a story on the fire: Zimmerman library catches fire (May 2006)

Oddly, I'm unable to find a decent article online with photos describing the architectural significance of Zimmerman Library, John Gaw Meem's best known work at UNM.
Comment by Khan on May 1, 2008 at 1:44pm
Thanks for this. As a student and later staffer at UNM, I spent a notable nip of my adult life in Zimmerman & have a deep affection for that place and what it and its staff did for me as a human being over those 12 years or so. I was so shocked when the fire happened, not long after I left my position there on campus. I simply can't wrap my mind around something like that.

I'll be excited to get over there and have a look about, check and see if the Ogonyok archive that I used repeatedly survived at all. And a new shelving system? That sounds neat. (I'm such a nerd!)

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