Marshall Memorial Library History

Our Beginnings

Photo by Morgan's Studio, George R and Bessie Morgan partners; 705 S. Iron Street circa?


The Deming Public Library was founded in 1917 by the Library Association, which was organized by the Deming Women's Club. Originally located at City Hall, it started with a very small book collection. Its first large purchase of books that year consisted of 162 volumes of fiction bought for $25. The first librarian received a salary of $15 a month!

Later the library was moved to the Armory, and in 1921, to a room in the Luna County Courthouse. It soon outgrew this area as well.

The land on the corner of Tin and Hemlock, was acquired in 1921 for $900. It was not until 1935, however, that the library building was constructed with funds provided by the Public Works Administration.

Although the building was remodeled and enlarged throughout the years, the original architectural style was preserved. Built of adobe with beamed ceilings in the original part of the building, it is a typical southwestern structure, featuring a beautiful Spanish corner fireplace in the room which housed the fine Southwestern collection. An added attraction were the hand painted windows depicting wildflowers of New Mexico. The latest addition was the Children's Room in 1972.

Over the years, despite these additions, the physical facility became too small to contain a modem and growing public library. After many years of debate, a decision was made to move the library into another city-owned structure which would be large enough to absorb the present collection and allow for considerable growth in the future. The facility, known as the Garcia Civic Center at 110 South Diamond Street, became the new home of the Marshall Memorial Library. The new location is more centrally located, has more parking, more interior space and is more convenient to school children. Using a detailed plain designed and submitted by the former Library Director Margaret Becker, Architect Reginald Richey of Richey & Associates in Lincoln, re-designed the old Garcia Building to meet the needs of the Marshall Memorial Library.

On May 10, 2005 Marshall Memorial celebrated it's grand opening with a large variety of events throughout the afternoon. The dedication took place at 4 PM. Speakers included Claudia Jeffreys, Library advisory board president, Mayor Sam Baca, John Strand, Judge Gary Jeffreys and architect Reginald Richey. Refreshments were served by Friends of the Library and Mimbres Library Foundation, Inc.

From 1917 to 1925, the library was supported en­tirely with funds raised by the Library Associa­tion. From 1925 on, it received gradually increased support from the City of Deming, the Luna County Commissioners, the Board of Education and the New Mexico Library Commission.

The City assumed complete responsibility for the library in 1957, with the County Commissioners and the Board of Education contracting for library services for Luna County and the Deming Public Schools.