The Albuquerque Community Writing Center (ABQCWC), an outreach program of the UNM Writing Across Communities Initiative and the WAC Alliance, is a writing center without walls, a mobile drop-in service for all members of the Albuquerque community. A hybrid entity, ABQCWC combines the concept of the academically-situated writing center with the tactical efficacy and organic fluidity of a community-centered nonprofit organization. ABQCWC’s mission is to provide self-motivated people of all abilities, educational backgrounds, socio-economic standing and professional affiliation with the tools, training and encouragement they require to fulfill their practical, civic, personal and social needs through writing.
Having recognized the efficacy of one-on-one consultation in the development of student writers, ABQCWC co-director Brian Hendrickson dreamed of offering that same service to the general public, free of charge. To his knowledge, most communities possessed career centers, health centers, and even literacy centers, but despite the obvious imperative that such a service be made available to all citizens of any functioning democracy, Hendrickson did not know such a thing as a community writing center even existed.
Therefore it came to Hendrickson as quite a pleasant surprise that Professor Michelle Kells of the University of New Mexico had been dreaming of and conducting research into the very same possibility, had discussed as much with ABQCWC co-director Erin Penner Gallegos, and already knew of a number of models—in particular the Salt Lake Community Writing Center—from which one might construct a writing center literally and figuratively without walls.
Now, thanks to the incredible efforts of its founding advisory board members, along with many other partners and volunteers, ABQCWC has established an important partnership with the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Main Branch Library in downtown Albuquerque, which it is staffing with a trained crew of volunteer writing consultants. Starting small and dreaming big, ABQCWC hopes to eventually expand its hours and locations to other libraries and community centers, offer public seminars and workshops in genres ranging from professional to creative writing, and perform outreach to populations that can’t come to us.
Excitingly, what you’ve read is only the beginning. Most of ABQCWC’s story has yet to be written. For those interested in getting in on the action, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Erin Penner Gallegos
Founding Advisory Board Members
Genevieve Garcia de Mueller
Michelle Hall Kells