The first library in Las Cruces was a collection of 500 books that the Women’s Improvement Association (WIA) kept at various member’s homes and then in a small office they had on Water Street. In 1927, thirty-three years after the WIA was founded, when the WIA Club House was built, the books were moved there. Members took turns to act as librarian.

One of the WIA members was Alice Branigan, who, along with her husband, Captain Thomas Branigan, was active in the community. When Alice died in 1932, she left her estate to various civic organizations, and bequeathed - for those days -  a considerable sum of money to the town of Las Cruces for a public library to be named in honor of her late husband.


  • 1935: Thomas Branigan Memorial Library opened its doors to the public in November
  • 1937: Children’s story time began at the Library
  • 1961: Library was renovated and expanded
  • 1979: New Library (with same name) opened on present 6-acre site
  • 1992: Computer Lab added
  • 1995: Circulation and cataloging systems were computerized
  • 1999: Library expanded computer lab with a Gates Foundation Grant
  • 2005: Library collection reached 146,000 items
  • 2008: Library began Books By Mail service
  • 2010: New Public Computer Lab revamp and Roadrunner Room addition completed
  • 2010: Library celebrated 75th Anniversary
  • 2013: Branigan Library Express at Sage Café opened