Established in 1969, the Friends of the Public Library is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization supporting the Public Library Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.
Our mission is to maintain a charitable and educational organization to support the library, to increase the library's resources, to advocate for the public library, to recycle donated materials, to stimulate use of the library's resources, and to encourage and support educational and literacy programs through the library.
Bylaws (254K PDF) (Acrobat Reader is required to view PDF documents.)
Tamara Coombs, President
Angela Mihm, First Vice President
Alice Haddix, Second Vice President
Susan Hurley, Secretary
Sara Eliott, Treasurer
Tamara Coombs moved back to Albuquerque to retire after working in the nonprofit sector in New York City, directing programs on the arts, planning, and design. Since joining the board in 2014, she has focused on working with designers to accomplish the redesign of the website, the Friends’ logo, signage, and membership materials. She also coordinated the Friends’ 50th Anniversary celebration. Libraries have been as essential part of her life since she first walked into the one at the corner of Central and Edith at the age of nine.
Angela Mihm moved to Albuquerque in March 2019. Most recently, she lived in Seattle, WA working in a variety of capacities. Her experience includes managing the office and staff of a small law firm, conflict mediation, and working as a small business owner and massage therapist. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Chicago. Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, the public library branch only four blocks from her house quickly became a second home. Angela believes in the transformational power of reading to increase empathy, expand possibilities, and provide knowledge. Plus, it is fun.
Alice Haddix retired to Albuquerque in 2011 after 25 years as an independent consultant to not-for-profit organizations in Tucson and Washington, D.C. Prior to that time she taught English at a small college outside Chicago, served as the Chief of the Application Review Unit for the Illinois Law Enforcement Commission (a grant-making agency), and was the Assistant to the Executive Vice President of the University of Illinois. Her consulting clients included libraries of various kinds, colleges and universities, and arts organizations. She has lead a book discussion group at Cherry Hills for over five years, belongs to a Great Books group, and is a serious fan of big band and classic jazz.
Susan Hurley is a current and past board member who has helped the Friends with sales, sorting, and pricing. Susan was born in the Midwest, but has lived most of her adult life in Montana, San Francisco, and New Mexico. She graduated in Mechanical Engineering from Montana State University, and now works as a Solution Architect, helping clients develop custom Learning Management System solutions. As a life-long voracious reader, Susan is proud to help promote learning and reading in the community.
Sara Elliott is Certified Public Accountant at the firm Baca & Howard, PC. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Fort Lewis College and a Master’s in Education from Northern Arizona University. Prior to her work as an accountant Sara worked in higher education. Sara and her husband moved to Albuquerque 13 years ago and started their family. Sara is an avid reader (when it isn’t tax season). Her family loves to travel and she finds herself involved in new hobbies/projects based on the whims and interests of her two sons.
Bill Noel has been collecting books since elementary school, inspired by his grandfather's personal library of over 4,000 volumes. After earning an engineering degree in Ohio, he moved to Albuquerque in 1983 to work at Sandia National Laboratories and has spent most of his career designing and building spacecraft systems. Bill has been a customer since the annual book sales in The Pit and a Friends volunteer for over 10 years. Bill and his wife, Meralyn, can be found at the Main Library most Friday mornings, doing the initial sort of incoming donations.
Jessica Zech is originally from Seattle and moved to Albuquerque in 2019, after her boyfriend accepted a position at the University of New Mexico. Since graduating from the University of Southern California, she has worked in marketing as a copywriter and campaign manager—and currently plans product promotions for a financial technology company. Jessica has always been an avid reader and library lover. She is excited to be part of an organization that helps make books and educational materials available to everyone.
Dean Smith started with the Public Library, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, in 2008 as an Assistant Director and has been Library Director since 2011. Dean got his Master’s in Library Science from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He has worked with The New York Public Library, first as a children’s librarian and then as a regional manager of Manhattan’s West Side, and as a Development Librarian at Southwark Council Libraries in London, England.
As the sole employee of the friends since 2001, Melissa Carlisle coordinates the book sales and bookshop, overseeing a team of over 60 volunteers who make it all possible. The daughter of writers, and ardent library users, she learned the importance of libraries at an early age. Ever since her first work-study job at UNM’s Zimmerman Library she has found herself most at home surrounded by books.